January 2011 new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at 632,100 units, which represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 10 million units, nearly 2 million units higher than January 2010, according to new data from J.D. Power and Associates. January 2011 retail volume is expected to be up 23 percent from one year ago.
Total Vehicle Sales Up 14%
J.D. Power projections also indicate total light-vehicle sales for January 2011 are expected to come in at 794,500 units, which is 14% higher than about 697,000 units in January 2010. Fleet sales are projected to account for 20% of total sales, with volume at 160,000 units.
Sales Outlook Improves
Based on the growing recovery momentum, J.D. Power and Associates has increased its retail sales forecast for 2011 by about 1% to 10.5 million units (from 10.4 million units). In addition, the forecast for total light-vehicle sales in 2011 has also been revised upward about 1.5% to 13 million units (from 12.8 million units).
“Optimism is increasing for the auto industry following a stronger outlook for the economy,” said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. “GDP growth is expected to be in the 3 to 3.2% range for 2011. As the macro drivers continue to improve and credit availability increases, further upside potential remains.”
North American Production Climbs 40% in ’10
At the close of 2010, J.D. Power analysis indicates North American production volume was nearly 40% higher than 2009, at 11.8 million vehicles. Production levels in 2011 are expected to continue to recover, but not at the same pace as experienced in 2010, as production continues to be well managed to demand.
Production volume in 2011 is projected at 12.6 million units, an increase of 7% from 2010. The quarterly pattern is expected to be more balanced, with each quarter accounting for approximately one-fourth of the annual volume. In the first quarter, production is forecasted to be 3.2 million units, an increase of 12% from the same period in 2010. Several manufacturers have high-profile vehicles starting volume production in the first quarter, including the Ford Focus, Chrysler 300 and Honda Civic.
Vehicle Inventory Falls 4% YOY
Vehicle inventory at the beginning of January 2011 fell to 2.3 million units, down 4% from 2.4 million units at the beginning of December 2010. Days’ supply decreased to 55 days in January, down 18% from 67 days last month when inventory was built up for the strong close to 2010. Currently, car inventory is outpacing truck inventory at a 59-day supply, compared with a 52-day supply.
Auto Buyers Prefer Silver, Black
Data from the recent 58th DuPont Global Automotive Color Popularity Report indicates that 26% of global consumers prefer silver for a car color, edging out number two color black/black effect (24%). These two colors are substantially more popular than number three colors white/white pearl and gray, tied with 16% consumer preference for each. No other color registered double-digit popularity, with red earning the fourth spot (6%).
Data provided by J.D. Power and Associates, which gathers real-time transaction data from more than 8,900 retail franchisees throughout the US.