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October Sales Expected to Defy Economic Uncertainty

Incentives rise, and pose risks, analyst warns.

by on Oct.29, 2014

The Jeep Cherokee is selling well and is responsible of much of Chrysler Group's stellar year.

Recent big swings in the stock market and dire headlines about an economic downturn haven’t put any kind of dent in U.S. auto sales, industry analysts are predicting demand for October will be up between 5.4 and 6.0% when sales numbers are totaled up next week.

Total demand, including retail and fleet sales, is expected to reach 1.27 million vehicles, according to various forecasts. On an annualized basis, known in industry terms as the SAAR, that would work out to 16.3 million vehicles, nearly a million about the rate for all of 2013.

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“The industry continues to demonstrate strong sales growth and robust transaction prices, resulting in another record-breaking month for industry consumer spending,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power and Associates. (more…)

September Car Sales Take Big Jump

by on Sep.27, 2012

Sales for subcompacts such as the Ford Fiesta are expected to be up 25 percent year over year for September.

Car sales have held steady during September, climbing by double digits from year ago levels. said September 2012 new light vehicle sales in the U.S. are expected to be up 10.5 percent from September 2011. The September 2012 forecast translates into a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate or SAAR  of 14.6 million new car sales, up from 13.1 million in September 2011 and up from 14.5 million in August 2012 .

Powerful, Yet Efficient!

The industry average incentive spending per unit will be approximately $2,468 in September 2012, which represents an decrease of 6.7 percent from September 2011 and decrease of 1.2 percent from August 2012.


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.  


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.


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.


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.


It’s Official, 2009 Auto Sales Worst in Decades

by on Jan.06, 2010

Click on the image to enlarge.

There isn’t much to be happy about in 2009 if you are looking at the Great Recession year from an automaker or wider United States economy perspective.

  • Unemployment reached levels not seen since the Great Depression despite taxpayers spending almost three-quarters of a trillion dollars on a government “stimulus” program.
  • Consumer confidence was badly shaken, and remains at dismal levels.
  • The credit markets stayed frozen as banks took the taxpayer stimulus money or Federal Reserve loans at zero percent interest and reinvested the funds in U.S. Treasury bills, not by lending the money out as lawmakers intended.
  • And the only effective “stimulus” program in our view – CARS, aka Cash for Clunkers – took more than six months of congressional squabbling and posturing before going into effect, and then was stopped almost as soon as it began.

The real sales and share gainers in the auto market were all offshore-based companies, whose home markets are protected and all but closed to exports from U.S.-based companies.

Top Ten!

Here are the Top Ten companies by sales: GM, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chrysler, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, VW, and BMW.

Chart follows. (more…)

December New Vehicle Sales to Increase Slightly

In comparison to an awful December 2008, that is.

by on Dec.23, 2009

Retail sales of new vehicles this December are expected to increase substantially compared with one year ago at  839,600 units, which represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 9.1 million units.

December’s fleet sales are projected to be down 10% from one year ago, although they are climbing compared to earlier this year. As a result, total sales for December are projected to come in at 1,029,600 units, up 7% from December 2008.

“The market is continuing to improve, with the relative strength of December sales supporting a year-end rally,” said Gary Dilts, at J.D. Power and Associates, which gathers real-time transaction data from more than 8,900 franchisees across the United States.


“The December selling rate is tracking at 11.2 million units, up nearly 1 million units from one year ago, which sets up 2010 for further recovery,” claims Dilts. (chart follows)


October U.S. Sales Predicted to Decline Again

However, they are "only" off single digits.

by on Oct.23, 2009

October new-vehicle retail sales are expected to decline 6% compared with one year ago–the first single-digit decline since May 2008, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

This decline marks the most significant improvement in 17 months, excluding August 2009 when year-over-year sales were up 13% due to the CARS program, according to the sometimes overly optimistic Power, which gathers real-time transaction data from more than 8,900 franchisees across the United States.

October new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at 651,600 units, which represent a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 8.3 million units. With fleet volume down only 4% from one year ago, total sales for October are projected to come in at 816,600 units, down 6% from October 2008.

U.S. New Vehicle Sales and SAAR, October  2009

October 2009(1) September 2009 October 2008 Versus October  2008
New Vehicle Retail Sales 651,600 565,446 668,159 -6%
Total Vehicles 816,600 744,161 834,018 -6%
Retail SAAR 8.3 m 7.2 m 8.7 m
Total SAAR 10.3 m 9.2 m 10.5 m
J.D. Power and Associates

(1) Figures cited for October 2009 are forecasted numbers based on the first 15 selling days of the month.

(2) The percentage change is adjusted based on the number of selling days (28 days vs. 27 days one year ago).

It was the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, and the subsequent chaos in the world’s financial markets that led to the Great Recession, which is ongoing.


Middle Class Declines as Unemployment Grows

With 10% unemployed, auto industry prospects remain poor.

by on Oct.05, 2009

We need to protect and create manufacturing jobs, not continue to shed them

We need to protect and create manufacturing jobs, not continue policies that eliminate them.

The recession wracked U.S. economy shed another 263,000 jobs in September, as unemployment rate climbed to 9.8%, according to the Labor Department’s monthly employment report.

The largest job losses were in construction, manufacturing, retail trade, and government.

This country has not seen a 10% unemployment since June of 1983, and since then we have shamelessly neglected the manufacturing sector, which creates real wealth.

The ongoing Great Recession – now the longest since the Great Depression– continues to take its toll on the auto industry as the Seasonally Adjusted Selling Rate (SAAR) in September fell to 9.2 million. Year-to-date sales are off 27%, no surprise since consumer confidence is badly shaken.

The political spin that only losing 250,000 jobs a month is an improvement when compared with 700, 000 sackings a month earlier this year rings hollow. Even if some slight economic growth is coming, 2009 will be a year in which a mere ten million vehicles will be sold, in an industry that was running 50% higher than that for a decade. The ripple effect through the economy now looks more like a tsunami.

Even government jobs are declining, in spite of the $787 billion “stimulus” package passed by the Obama administration earlier this year. As tax revenues continue to decline, even the government is forced to pare employment.

Unemployment rates for the major groups–adult men (10.3%), adult women (7.8%), teenagers (25.9%), whites (9.0%), blacks (15.4%), Hispanics (12.7%) and Asians was (7.4%) –showed little change in September.

The stark fact is that rates for all major worker groups are much higher than at the start of the recession.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs rose by 603,000 to 10.4 million in September. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) rose by 450,000 to 5.4 million. In September, 35.6% of unemployed persons were job-less for 27 weeks or more.


U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Fall in September by 27%

Here are the final, ugly, sales results.

by on Oct.02, 2009

The facts are bad for most automakers.

The sales facts are bad for most automakers.

In our monthly tribute to Sergeant Joe Friday of the Los Angeles Police Department, here are the final vehicle sales numbers for September 2009.

September is a month that most automakers would like to forget.

Just the facts: Calendar-year-to-date sales are down 27%.

Korean makers Hyundai and Kia are the biggest winners in the month over month comparison.


September Sales Tank from Clunkers Payback

It’s ugly with a 7.5 million SAAR, lowest of the year.

by on Sep.24, 2009

September new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at a mere 590,000 units, which represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of  just 7.5 million units, according to J.D. Power and Associates, which gathers real-time transaction data from more than 8,900 dealers across the United States.

“Low inventories and reduced incentives, combined with the effects of CARS pull-ahead sales, spell tough conditions for September,” said Gary Dilts, senior vice president of global automotive operations Power.

“September’s retail SAAR is projected to be the lowest selling rate in 2009. However, improving consumer confidence and credit conditions in the months ahead are likely to help to rebuild the retail industry,” he said.


U.S. New Vehicle Sales and SAAR – September 2009


September 2009 (1)

August 2009

September 2008

September 2008 %

New Vehicle Retail Sales

 590,000  1,142,876  740,883


Total Vehicles

 710,000  1,259,708  962,097


Retail SAAR

 7.5 m  11.8 m  8.8 m  

Total SAAR

 9.2 m  13.8 m  12.5 m  
J.D. Power and Associates  (1) Figures cited for September 2009 are forecasted numbers based on the first 16 selling days of the month. (2) The percentage change is adjusted based on the number of selling days – 25 days vs. 24 days one year ago.

It is now clear that 2009 will be a write off for what remains a financially challenged industry. Of particular concern for U.S. taxpayers is the health of the newly reorganized Chrysler Group and General Motors Company.

We Have Numbers!

We Have Numbers!

Both companies were driven into bankruptcy earlier this year because of sales that were far above current levels. Since neither company is reporting financial results, it is impossible to know if the roughly $60 billion invested by taxpayers is a reasonable investment or just delayed their demise.