New car sales have remained steady in March and are expected to increase by 8 to 10%, year-over-year, according to new estimates from J.D. Power and Associates.
Using data from a broad network of dealers, Power estimates both retail light-vehicle sales and the total light-vehicle rate are consistent with February’s strong performance market. That would work out to around 12.1 million vehicles by consumers and 15.3 million when fleet buyers are included in the mix.
Retail transactions are the most accurate measurement of true underlying consumer demand for new vehicles. They also tend to be more profitable than fleet sales, especially those to daily rental companies. Most makers have been shifting focus to the retail side of the market – in part because that also tends to prop up residuals, or trade-in values.