April a Good Month in Car Sales

By TrueCar, Special for  USDR

TrueCar, Inc., the negotiation-free car buying and selling mobile marketplace, projects April auto sales will expand to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 16.8 million new units, the highest level for the month in a  decade.

Volume was kick-started by lingering momentum from a strong fiscal year-end close for Japanese automakers and healthy consumer demand. New vehicle sales, including fleet deliveries, should rise 6.1 percent to 1,475,000 units for the month. With the same number of selling days compared to April 2014, deliveries will also increase 6.1 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. The SAAR is up 4.7 percent from 16.1 million last  year.

“Underpinning this solid outlook is an incredible appetite for crossovers, sport utilities and pickup trucks,” said Eric Lyman, vice president of industry insights for TrueCar. “Automakers with strong light truck offerings continue to gain and will benefit from the likelihood gasoline prices will remain low this  summer.”

In April 2005, the last time sales for the month were close to this April’s projected range, light-trucks, including crossovers, sport-utility vehicles and pickups, made up 52 percent of the market, while cars accounted for 48 percent. Light-trucks have since increased to about 56 percent of the new light vehicle  market.

TrueCar this month raised its 2015 new vehicle sales forecast to 17.1 million units from 17.0 million units following a stronger than expected first quarter. Key economic indicators also signal there will be sustained growth. In March, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index® improved by 2.5 points from the prior month, hitting 101.3. U.S. unemployment also remained low through March at 5.5 percent, unchanged from  February.

Fuji Heavy Industries Inc.’s Subaru brand may be the biggest gainer in April, followed by FCA, with respective sales increases of 23.5 percent and 10.6 percent. This extends FCA’s consecutive streak of monthly year-over-year of sales gains to 61. Incentive spending by automakers averaged $2,601 per vehicle in April, up 0.6 percent from a year ago and down 4.4 percent over March  2015.

“The top two domestic automakers, GM and Ford, are showing incentive spending restraint this month,” said Lyman. “With a solid portfolio of in-demand light trucks, domestic manufacturers have been able to roll back incentive spending to support higher revenue and brand  strength.”

Other key findings for  April:

  • Expected registration mix of 82.6 percent retail sales and 17.4 percent fleet versus 81.9 percent retail and 18.1 percent fleet last April.
  • Total used auto sales, including franchise and independent dealerships and private-party transactions, may exceed 3,069,294, unchanged from April 2014.

Forecasts for the 10 largest manufacturers by  volume:

Unit Sales

Manufacturer

April 2015 Forecast

% Change vs. April 2014

FCA

198,600

10.6%

Ford

223,300

6.2%

GM

269,100

5.9%

Honda

135,000

1.9%

Hyundai

62,300

-5.8%

Kia

57,900

7.9%

Nissan

113,000

8.7%

Subaru

49,500

23.5%

Toyota

206,400

3.4%

Volkswagen Group

48,400

-4.7%

Industry

1,475,000

6.1%

Market Share

Manufacturer

April 2015 Forecast

April 2014

March 2015

FCA

13.5%

12.9%

12.8%

Ford

15.1%

15.1%

15.2%

GM

18.2%

18.3%

16.2%

Honda

9.2%

9.5%

8.2%

Hyundai

4.2%

4.8%

4.9%

Kia

3.9%

3.9%

3.8%

Nissan

7.7%

7.5%

9.4%

Subaru

3.4%

2.9%

3.2%

Toyota

14.0%

14.4%

14.6%

Volkswagen Group

3.3%

3.7%

3.3%

Incentive Spending

Manufacturer

Incentive per Unit April 2015Forecast

Incentive per Unit % Change vs.April 2014

Incentive per Unit % Change vs. March 2015

Total Spending April 2015Forecast

FCA

$3,376

10.4%

-1.3%

$666,754,830

Ford

$2,733

-14.8%

-3.9%

$610,278,080

GM

$2,956

-11.7%

-3.7%

$795,410,236

Honda

$1,787

-12.8%

-0.2%

$241,189,098

Hyundai

$2,710

47.6%

5.1%

$168,833,434

Kia

$2,758

26.0%

0.8%

$159,667,207

Nissan

$2,546

16.5%

-20.0%

$287,675,000

Subaru

$711

-13.6%

-2.2%

$35,205,326

Toyota

$1,757

2.2%

-4.1%

$362,556,937

Volkswagen Group

$2,711

-0.5%

-1.6%

$130,390,423

Industry

$2,601

0.6%

-4.4%

$3,828,501,806

About TrueCar
TrueCar, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRUE), the negotiation-free car buying and selling mobile marketplace, gives consumers transparent insight into what others paid and access to guaranteed savings off MSRP from TrueCar Certified Dealers. TrueCar’s network of more than 10,000 trusted Certified Dealers is committed to providing upfront pricing information and a hassle-free buying experience. TrueCar powers car-buying programs for some of the largest U.S. membership and service organizations, including AARP, American Express, AAA and USAA. Not all program features are available in all states. TrueCar is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, with offices in San Francisco and Austin, Texas. For more information, go to www.truecar.com. Follow us on Facebook or  Twitter.

SOURCE TrueCar,  Inc.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.