2013 vehicle sales off to fast start, J.D. Power reports

(January 25, 2013) WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — The January new-vehicle selling rate is off to a strong start in 2013, with the highest retail selling rate in January in five years, according to a monthly sales forecast developed by J.D. Power and Associates' Power Information Network and LMC Automotive.

January new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at 812,600 vehicles, which represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 12.9 million units, and well ahead of the expected 12.4-million-unit annual level for 2013. Retail transactions are the most accurate measurement of true underlying consumer demand for new vehicles.

"The year is off to a fast start, which bodes well for the remainder of 2013," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. "Building on the momentum the industry has been gaining over the past two years, sales remain on a trajectory to return to pre-recession levels within the next few years."

Total light-vehicle sales in January 2013 are projected to reach 1,027,700 units, an eight percent increase from January 2012. Fleet share is expected to reach 21 percent, considerably lower than the 25 percent share in January 2012, signaling continued discipline in the industry-related rental car fleet sales.

Based on a strong finish in 2012 and a higher-than-expected pace to begin 2013, LMC Automotive is increasing its 2013 U.S. forecast for total light-vehicle sales by 100,000 units to 15.1 million. In addition, the outlook for retail light-vehicle sales increases to 12.4 million units from 12.2 million units for 2013.

"The global industry is looking for the United States to offset risk in Europe and potentially slower growth in the emerging markets in 2013," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. "The good news is that the U.S. market is primed to over-deliver as the recovery heats up. The concern now is shifting from the continuing recovery to whether the automotive supply base will be able to keep up with hearty demand."

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive U.S. Sales and SAAR Comparisons


January 20131

December 2012

January 2012

New-Vehicle Retail Sales

812,600 units2

(14% higher than January 2012)

1,136,484 units

682,171 units

Total Vehicle Sales

1,027,700 units

(8% higher than January 2012)

1,353,418 units

911,370 units

Retail SAAR

12.9 million units

12.0 million units

 10.9 million units

Total SAAR

15.0 million units

15.2 million units

13.9 million units