Analysts anticipate a drop in new vehicle sales when carmakers report their total deliveries for April next week.
U.S. new-vehicle sales in April are expected to fall 3.6% compared to April 2017, according to a forecast from Cox Automotive.
Despite the expected volume decline, the sales pace in the U.S. remains strong, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.3 million units, above year-ago levels. In April 2017, the SAAR was 17.0 million, Cox analysts noted.
“This year, April has two fewer selling days than last year, so sales volume can decline and the pace can increase,” noted Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough. “That’s what we are expecting this month: Volume of 1.37 million units, down 50,000 from last year, but a healthy sales pace of 17.3 million units, closer to last month’s robust 17.4 million pace.”
Cox Automotive also expects most OEMs to report lower year-over-year sales in April.
(Earnings down, GM still beats Q1 forecast. Click Here for the story.)
However, GM and VW are expected to see modest gains compared with last year due to strong new crossovers. The Jeep brand is also expected to post strong performance thanks in large part to fresh products offerings, Cox said. But Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobile N.V., acknowledged this week that sales of Ram trucks have begun to slip of late.
Meanwhile, Edmunds, the car buying assistance service, estimated that 1.34 million new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in April for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate or SAAR of 16.9 million. a 19% decrease in sales from March 2018 and a 6% decrease from April 2017.
(Click Here for details about Ford’s Q1 profits.)
“April’s sales slip may seem disheartening, but the spike we saw in March was an anomaly considering our expectations for 2018,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis. “Overall, we expect April will still be a solid month and more of a true indicator of where sales are trending for the year as demand declines and interest rates continue to rise.
“Sales are still in a very healthy place, and we’re seeing encouraging signs that automakers are continuing to improve their product mixes and inventory levels to match consumer demand.”
(To see more about FCA’s record Q1 profits, Click Here.)
Kelley Blue Book Executive Analyst Rebecca Lindland said, “I expect another strong month from the Jeep brand. The new products are driving strong sales and, considering FCA’s recent Q1 results, powering the bottom line as well. Of late, Jeep seems to be holding up the entire FCA tent.”