Forecast: February U.S auto sales to rise 17 per cent image

According to J.D. Power and Associates forecast,  February new-vehicle retail sales are expected to remain strong, despite being a historically slow time of year for vehicle sales.

February new-vehicle retail sales are projected to come in at 727,500 units, which represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 10.3 million units.
J.D. Power and Associates said retail-selling rates signal the continuing U.S. auto industry recovery from 2008 and 2009, when much of the industry was restructured, including bankruptcies at General Motors and Chrysler.

“Retail sales in February got off to a slow start due to the snowstorms that affected the country from the Midwest to the Northeast,” said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, the market rebounded quickly in the days that followed, leading to a slightly stronger selling rate than in January.”

North American Production
North American production by automakers is forecast by J.D. Power to rise 8 percent this year to 12.8 million vehicles, up from its previous forecast of 12.6 million. Production volume is expected to stabilize at a higher level in 2011, but the year-over-year increases are expected to slow.

The first-quarter volume is forecasted at 3.2 million units, or 13 percent higher than the same period in 2010. However, the second half of 2011 is expected to be only 4 percent higher than the second half of 2010 (6.1 million units vs. 5.9 million units, respectively).