Even with concerns about rising interest rates and downward pressure on used car prices, making leases more expensive, auto makers are expected to post a sales increase for March, analysts said.
The auto industry will see its first year-over-year monthly increase of 2017 as March retail sales are expected to rise 2.4%, according to a forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. Total sales are expected to increase 1.6%. J.D. Power and Kelley Blue Book expected that the seasonally adjusted rate of annual sales will reach 17.3 million units to 17.4 million.
However, the sales increase will come at a price as incentives were running at a record level of $3,768 per unit, the highest level since the recession of 2009. Incentives as a percentage of manufacturers suggested retail prices reached 10.4% in March, which is also the highest level since 2009 when the topped 11% of MSRP, Power noted. (more…)