Driven by a rebounding economy and an after-Sandy pop, auto sales in November will be be “highest since February 2008,” expects Jesse Toprak, senior analyst at TrueCar.com. Sales chiefs at major automakers agree.
|Unit Sales Forecast November 2012|
TrueCar projects November sales of new light vehicles to be 1,120,088 units, up 12.7 percent from November 2011 and up 2.6 percent from October 2012, for a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate (“SAAR”) of 15.2 million.
Most of the growth comes from Asian and European transplants. Nissan is projected for an 8.6 percent month-on-month pop, mainly driven by record incentives. TrueCar says that on average, Nissan put $4,273 on the hood of every car sold in November. Much maligned Honda is projected to increase its sales by a third over November 2011.
|Market Share Forecast November 2012|
The strength of the foreigners is expected to translate into lost market share in Detroit. Ford and GM are seen to lose share both month-on-month and year-on-year. Chrysler is seen to improve its share by half a point over November 2011, but to shed three tenths compared to October 2012.
Carmaker executives agree with the projections. Toyota’s U.S. Chief Jim Lentz expects a SAAR anywhere between 14.8 and 15.2 million. John Mendel, EVP of American Honda, expects a November SAAR “right around 15 million,” Reuters reports.
Toyota believes that 400,000 units were destroyed by Sandy, 100,000 of those being new cars, Lentz told Reuters.
Jim Farley, Ford’s global sales and marketing chief, is banking on people getting tired of their thirsty old cars, and want to trade them for fuel efficient new ones. “The average car is 11 years old,” Farley told the Wall Street Journal. “The fleet has never been older.”