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U.S. April Auto Sales Anemic at Best

While executives project optimism, the numbers are weak.

by on May.04, 2010

Click on chart to enlarge.

April new-vehicle retail sales tallied 982,000 units, or a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of just over 11 million units,” according to Autodata Corporation.  

This looked okay when compared with an admittedly bad April 2009, but the fact remains the auto economy remains weak,  and incentives are propping up the market and pulling ahead sales.  

It is too early to declare that the auto recession is over. The latest information from the AutoPacific consultancy shows the intent to purchase a new car or truck in the next two years has declined over the January to March period. So there is the first problem — demand does not appear to be strengthening.  

Rising fuel prices are also complicating the outlook. The median fuel price paid in March 2010 was $2.82 per gallon, up 13 cents from January 2010 but up 86 cents per gallon from March 2009. However, interest in small cars and hybrids has declined over the last year, according to AutoPacific.  

When asked what kind of vehicle respondents would select if they were to replace their primary vehicle today, 22% selected a Small Car in March 2009, but by January 2010 Small Car consideration had fallen to 12% and continued at that level in March 2010. During this time, the price of fuel went up by 44% but the interest in Small Cars went down by 44%. This is an unwelcome trend for Detroit automakers in particular who are about to introduce new small cars such as Ford Fiesta or Focus, or the Chevrolet Cruze, which will feature at least one 40 mpg model.  

Detailed charts follow after the jump.  

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April U.S. Retail Auto Sales Projected at Slightly Up

Economy remains stuck in park; jobless recovery continues.

by on Apr.22, 2010

April new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at 804,200 units, which represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 9.8 million units, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

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U.S. Sales and SAAR Comparisons, April 2010

April 2010 March 2010 April 2009
New retail 804,200 units (+22% April 2009) 849,735 units 659,458 units
Total vehicle 1,008,800 units (+23% April 2009) 1,063,987 units 819,126 units
Retail SAAR 9.8 million units 9.6 million units 8.0 million units
Total SAAR 11.5 million units 11.7 million units 9.2 million units
J.D. Power and Associates. Figures for April 2010 are forecast based on the first 15 selling days of the month.

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When compared with an admittedly bad April 2009, retail sales are projected to increase by 22% in April 2010, and the selling rate is expected to increase by 1.8 million units.

Retail transactions are the most accurate measurement of true underlying consumer demand for new vehicles, according to Power, which gathers real-time transaction data from more than 8,900 retail franchises in the United States.

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