After narrowly missing analyst expectations in February because of the weather, the industry experts are back with bold predictions, saying March results could be the best in a decade.
According to a new forecast from J.D. Power, sales of new cars and light-duty trucks have recovered this month, after “inclement weather in February caused many consumers to delay their new-vehicle purchase until March,” according to John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. Information gathered by the company’s Power Information Network, the month has a combination of sales growth and strong increases for the average transaction prices – and that could yield a new record for the month when it comes to consumer spending on new vehicles, at $37.7 billion. Humphrey adds the higher transaction prices have been possible due to the surge of extended term loans (72 months or longer) – which could account for at least 35 percent of retail sales, ready to set a new record for any month.
Buoyed by the customers who delayed their new vehicle purchase due to the February winter conditions, total new light-vehicle deliveries this month are expected to stand at almost 1,540,000 autos, a 4 percent surge from the same month last year. The tally would reach the highest level since March 2005, when sales stood at 1,572,909 units. Of those, retail sales are predicted to come in at 1,234,700 units, another 4 percent increase. The SAAR (seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate) for the retail segment is expected to stand at 13.6 million units, almost half a million higher than in 2014 and the best retail figure since March 2002, when it was 14.8 million.