In March 2012 it is expected a 6% rise in new-vehicle sales compared to last year, due to strong demand in the retail market.

Total sales expected in March are 1,372,400 cars and light trucks, compared with 1,244,009 vehicles in March 2011. That estimate would translate to an annual sales rate in the month of 14.1 million vehicles, compared with 15 million in February and 13 million in March 2011.

“Each month of strong sales brings with it increased optimism that the pace of growth represents a true recovery for the sector,” John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power, said in a statement.

January and February brought unexpected U.S. auto sales, although some analysts and industry executives have said the industry will not recover significantly until U.S. home prices pick up and consumers feel more prosperous. 2012 is the third year the auto industry recovers fast after a severe slump that led to the bankruptcies of General Motors Co and Chrysler in 2009.

“The first-quarter selling rate has outperformed the annual forecast for sales for the first time since 2008, when the automotive market started to decline,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC.


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