vehicle retail sales during the first 16 selling days in April were
down by approximately 33 percent compared with the same period one year
ago; however, the market does show signs of stabilizing, according to
J.D. Power and Associates, which gathers real-time transaction data
from more than 10,000 dealerships across the United States.
New-vehicle retail sales for the month of April are expected to come in
at 668,000 units, which represent a seasonally adjusted annualized rate
(SAAR) of 7.8 million units. This is down by 33 percent from one year
ago, but stable with the February and March SAARs of 7.7 and 7.9
million units, respectively.
Total industry sales for April (including fleet sales) are projected to
be 853,000 units, which translates to a SAAR of 9.7 million units.
"Industry sales are starting to show signs of stability albeit at
levels near 30-year lows as the retail sales SAAR has been at or
near the 7.8 million-unit level for the past three months," said Gary
Dilts, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D.
Power and Associates. "In spite of continued supply corrections, we
remain optimistic that coming months will exhibit stability with a
modest increase in the second half of the year, which is in line with
our 8.5 million-unit retail and 10.4 million-unit total light-vehicle
forecast for 2009."
J.D. Power and Associates estimates potential growth in vehicle demand
of 20 million units during the next five years. This will be driven
primarily by an increase in the number of households, consumers
returning to the market with more vehicle equity in an improved credit
environment, and an improved economy that will yield enhanced consumer
options in the automotive market driven by new-vehicle launches.
"We expect market conditions to slowly improve during the remainder of
2009, which will lead us back to a solid industry with improved
long-term fundamental growth," said Jeff Schuster, executive director
of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates.