Edmunds: Truck sales to prop up new-vehicle market in April

(April 26, 2019) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The car shopping experts at Edmunds forecast that 1,357,024 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in April for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 16.8 million. This reflects a 16.2% decrease in sales from March but a 0.3% increase from April 2018. Despite this month-over-month dip, Edmunds experts note that pickup sales were a bright spot. According to Edmunds data, market share for pickup trucks is expected to reach 17%, the highest April level since 2005.

"Even as interest rates and gas prices rise, there's no escaping the fact that Americans love their pickup trucks," said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds' manager of industry analysis.

"Truck shoppers now have more choices than they have had in years thanks to a slew of new models arriving on dealer lots, which help April auto sales look a little healthier than they probably should."

Edmunds estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 13.5 million vehicles in April, with fleet transactions accounting for 19.5% of total sales. An estimated 3.4 million used vehicles will be sold in April 2019, for a SAAR of 39.1 million (compared to 3.7 million — or a SAAR of 39.2 million — in March)

In spite of strength in the truck segment, Edmunds experts note that slowing new vehicle sales overall are causing vehicles to stack up on dealer lots. Inventory levels in April are expected to hit above 4.1 million, reaching their highest level since June 2017.

"Manufacturers might start to spend more on incentives to move inventory as we head into the summer selling season," said Acevedo. "Deals have been hard for shoppers to come by so far this year, but there might be more deals to be found heading into Memorial Day weekend."