Brisk sales of pickup trucks are propping up the sales of new vehicles during April, according to new estimates from analysts.
The analysts from Edmunds, the car shopping website, forecast that 1,357,024 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in April for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate or SAAR of 16.8 million, which is more or less the consensus prediction for total vehicles sales during 2019.
The Edmunds forecast reflects a 16.2% decrease in sales from March 2019 but a 0.3% increase from April 2018.
Despite this month-over-month dip, Edmunds experts note that pickup sales were a bright spot. According to Edmunds data, the market share for trucks is expected to reach 17%, the highest April level since 2005.
“Even as interest rates and gas prices rise, there’s no escaping the fact that Americans love their pickup trucks,” said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds’ manager of industry analysis.
“Truck shoppers now have more choices than they have had in years thanks to a slew of new models arriving on dealer lots, which help April auto sales look a little healthier than they probably should.”
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In spite of strength in the truck segment, Edmunds experts note that slowing new vehicle sales overall are causing vehicles to stack up on dealer lots. Inventory levels in April are expected to hit above 4.1 million, reaching their highest level since June 2017.
“Manufacturers might start to spend more on incentives to move inventory as we head into the summer selling season,” said Acevedo. “Deals have been hard for shoppers to come by so far this year, but there might be more deals to be found heading into Memorial Day weekend,” Acevedo said.
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General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., Toyota, Honda and Hyundai/Kia are all expected to report sales drops, according to Edmunds. Only Nissan and Volkswagen among the eight largest sellers are expected to eke out small increases.