February 2010 new-vehicle retail sales are expected to remain strong in the US, despite being a historically slow time of year for vehicle sales, according to J.D. Power and Associates. 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.
Retail SAAR Up 29%
This marks the second month of a year-over-year selling rate increase of more than 2 million units, as J.D. Power recorded a retail SAAR rate of 8 million units in February 2010, meaning sales are up about 29% year-over-year. Compared to the retail SAAR rate of 10.2 million units recorded in January 2011, sales are up about 1%.
Total Light Vehicle Sales Rise 17%
Total light-vehicle sales for February 20111 are expected to come in at 913,000 units, which is 17% higher than about 568,000 in February 2010 and about 13% more than a little less than 645,000 in January 2011.
Fleet sales are projected to remain stable and continue to account for 20% of total sales, with volume at 186,000 units.
North American Production Volume Expected to Stabilize
North American production in January 2011 came in at nearly 1 million units, or 14% higher than January 2010. Production volume is expected to stabilize at a higher level in 2011, but the year-over-year increases are expected to slow. Q1 2011 volume is forecasted at 3.2 million units, or 13% higher than the same period in 2010. However, the second half of 2011 is expected to be only 4% higher than the second half of 2010 (6.1 million units compared to 5.9 million units, respectively).
For 2011, the outlook for North American production has been increased to 12.8 million units (from 12.6 million units) driven by the stronger outlook for vehicle demand. This represents an increase of nearly 8% from 2010.
Days’ supply at the end of January 2011 increased to 71 days from 55 days at the end of 2010. However, the 71-day level is consistent with January 2010 and below the last five-year average of 85 days in January. The level of inventory rose to 2.4 million units from 2.3 million units, an increase of 4%.
North America Has Positive 2011 Sales Outlook
The J.D. Power light vehicle sales outlook for North America in 2011 is positive, according to other recent data, with sales forecasted to increase by 11% to 15.5 million units, up from 14 million units in 2010. The US auto market continues to be the driver for growth in the region, with sales expected to reach 13 million units, an increase of 12% from 2010.
Canada’s growth, projected at 4% in 2011, remains positive, as J.D. Power analysis indicates the market was not affected as deeply as that of the US during the recession. With sales projected at 900,000 units, Mexico is expected to see an 8% increase in light-vehicle sales from 2010, with its growth dependent on the US recovery and subject to high levels of inflation.
About the Data: J.D. Power & Associates gathers real-time transaction data from more than 8,900 retail franchisees throughout the US and is the source of the enclosed charts.