There will be an explosion of sorts next week when carmakers report final sales numbers for the month.
Not all carmakers report month-by-month sales numbers but TrueCar, the service that helps consumers find the right car, is predicting that retail sales jumped 95% from the depressed levels reported for April of 2020 when many jurisdictions were locked in effort to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Several carmakers, reporting next week could post triple-digit increases as vehicle sales explode despite the tightening inventories.
Ford Motor Co., for example, reports its deliveries of finished vehicles dropped 14% during the fourth quarter and are expected to drop further in the second quarter, according to CEO Jim Farley.
Sales jump big compared with last year
Nonetheless, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive are predicting new-vehicle retail sales for April 2021 could be “the highest ever recorded.” Retail sales of new vehicles are projected to reach 1.33 million units, a 110.6% increase compared with April 2020 and an increase of 20.8% increase compared with April 2019, when adjusted for selling days, according to J.D. Power and LMC analysts.
Comparing the same sales volume without adjusting for the number of selling days translates into a 25.6% increase when lined up against the same period two years ago.
J.D. Power and LMC expect total new vehicle sales for this month, including fleet or non-retail sales, to reach 1.48 million units. That would be a 107.1% increase from April 2020 and a 7.8% increase from April 2019 when adjusted for selling days. Without accounting for the number of sales days, it equates to a 107.1% increase from April 2020 and 12.1 increase from April 2019.
SAAR to 18 million
The seasonally adjusted annualized rate or SAAR for total new-vehicle sales is expected to be 18.1 million units, up 9.4 million units from 2020 and up 1.7 million units from 2019, the two groups predicted.
“Despite low inventory, April 2021 will be another record-breaking month for the U.S. auto industry. Building on the strength that began in Q4 2020 and continued through Q1 2021, the industry will set records for April sales volumes, transaction prices, consumer expenditure and retailer profitability,” said Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power.
“However, with the sales pace exceeding the rate at which vehicles are being produced, compounded by significant production disruption due to microchip shortages, there is a growing risk to the industry’s ability to sustain the current sales pace in the coming months.”