By on March 21, 2013

America remains a rare bright spot in the dark world of car sales. March is expected to be as strong as previous months. J.D. Power / LNC Automotive expects total new-vehicle to come in at 1,465,100 units in March, which would be a 15.3 million SAAR, and a 4.5 percent increase over March 2012.

J.D. Power LMC March Estimate 
( Million units.)
  Mar’13 Feb’13 Mar’12 YoY
Retail 1.16 0.93 1.09 5.9%
Total 1.47 1.19 1.40 4.5%
Retail SAAR 12.10 12.10 11.40 6.1%
Total SAAR 15.30 15.30 14.10 8.5%

The company sees average retail transaction prices up 3 percent to $28,504. Consumers are increasingly getting in hock for a long time: The percentage of retail sales with a 72-month or longer loan is at record levels, reaching 32.1 percent in March 2013, an increase of 30.4 percent from March 2012.

LMC Automotive is holding its 2013 U.S. forecast for total light-vehicle sales at 15.3 million units.

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13 Comments on “March Sales Forecast: Strong, But No Huge Leaps...”

  • avatar

    Talking of financing, I was surprised to see both Honda and Mazda giving long term and low rates on their new midsize sedans – 4 years at 1.9% for Honda and 3 years at 0.9% for Mazda. Just shows how competitive the market is.

  • avatar

    I was pleased to be offered 1.9% for 5-years on my FIAT Abarth, beat my credit union, and FIAT’s advertised rate on that model of 3.24%. I’ll have it paid off in 2 years or less, but I like the flexibility of the lower payment in the occasional tight month.

  • avatar

    In Brazil credit is key to the Market rise too. The only difference is that when Brazilians say they are paying 1% to 1.9% on cars for a 60 month plan, well that interest refers to a month. Just a month. Buy one for the price of two, or three! That’s the story here. You guys just can’t appreciate how good you’ve got it

  • avatar

    I believe that the “No Huge Leaps” is due to a few external factors like the increase in deductions for most working people, and the bad weather in some portions of the US during March.

    Less pay each payday generally translates into less money to spend on loan payments and bad weather keeps people from car-shopping.

    But things are improving, albeit slowly. An increase in longer term lending at lower APR just tells me that the units are being sold at a much higher price which is marketed by the dealers as being amortized over a longer repayment period. Hence, less financial stress on the borrower.

  • avatar

    Just a few short years ago everyone was predicting that the heyday of 17 mill SAR will never *ever* happen again. Well, it looks like we’re well on our way. A couple of years, perhaps?

    • 0 avatar

      It’s an excellent time to buy a new car or truck. Old people I know are lining up to buy that last new vehicle before they croak.

      What we have to look forward to in the coming years is higher MSRP, fewer engine choices, smaller engines, reduced performance, reduced size, higher insurance rates and increased vehicle monitoring.

      If someone’s got the money, now is the time to buy, and if you can qualify to gamble with other people’s money in the form of a new car loan, so much the better. That way, if the economy should sour and the borrower loses their job, they can just walk away from the car loan.

      Trouble is, even with lower APR loans and more liberal qualification thresholds, not everyone can qualify. Old people especially, are often turned down or asked for a lot more skin in the game than young people.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, one of your negatives is a big positive in my mind. Reduced size. And let’s add less weight, which has the potential for more fun. I will miss the option of V8s though…now if we could add more glass area as well. Maybe the designers of cars need to visit a modern office. Floor to ceiling glass everywhere…which I fund disgusting and wasteful,…and annoying to work in.

        Biggest upcoming issue and I agree 100%…the increased monitoring which Big Insurance is going to use to rape us with higher rates. I bet that before he decade ends, that Snapshot device will become mandatory or face assigned risk rates…one can only hope that when that makes it to the Supreme Court, the correct decision will be made…

        • 0 avatar

          golden2husky, yes, insurance companies, but auto manufacturers as well with systems like OnStar and the like which monitor your car’s every system while monitoring how you drive, and what evasive action, if any, you took prior to an accident.

          And whether you subscribe to the service or not, the capability is always inherent in the system to send whatever information it gathers home to mama. There are plenty of instances where OnStar disabled a stolen vehicle when asked to by the cops.

          I believe that whatever size, class and price a new car buyer chooses is their business. What I resent is that there is a gradual reduction in size forced upon everyone, even those, like me, who prefer a substantial vehicle over imposed reduction in size.

          With Americans, size matters. That’s why they sell them in America.

          My wife is now talking about needing a bit more room than her 2012 Grand Cherokee offers, so our next SUV will probably be a 2015/2016 Suburban. Maybe by then GM will have put the engineering of a 32-valve, DOHC, all-aluminum Northstar V8 under the hood and improved on it further.

          I admit that for me her Grand Cherokee is a bit cramped, so I prefer to pilot my Tundra instead.

          Even so, this remains an excellent time to buy a new car for those who want one and can afford it. They’ll only cost more next year and beyond.

          • 0 avatar

            John Wayne, 6’4″, 280 lbs., size 14 cowboy boot, complained in ’77 when GM downsized the Impala that there were going to be no cars big enough for full-sized people to not feel like sardines. He may have been right – the makers insist leg room is the same, but footwells are smaller and bucket seats are far tighter than benches for the 250+ weight class.

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