By on April 29, 2011



Forecasts for April U.S. new vehicle sales differ widely amongst the industry soothsayers this month.

J.D. Power expects total light-vehicle sales for April to come in at 1,147,300 units, 13 percent higher than in April 2010.

Truecar thinks that new light vehicle sales in the U.S. (including fleet) will be 1,145,209 units in April, up 16.6 percent from April 2010.

Edmunds is the most bullish of the augurs, expecting April new car sales  (including fleet sales) to be approximately 1,171,000 units, a 19.3 percent increase from April 2010.

Edmunds immediately rains on its parade: “As inventories rapidly deteriorate, April could be the last month that we’ll see strong sales numbers until late summer or early fall,” said Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. “May and June are traditionally high-volume months, and with anticipated supply constraints — especially on the fuel-efficient vehicles that have been in higher demand with spiked gas prices — inventories will be exhausted further. The big unknown is how this market will adjust to supply restrictions, when demand has been the key problem for the past three years.”

Forecast by J.D.Power:

J.D. Power and Associates U.S. Sales and SAAR Comparisons

April 20111

March 2011

April 2010

New-vehicle retail sales

948,100 units
(16% higher than April 2010)2

978,471 units

790,469 units

Total vehicle sales

1,147,300 units
(13% higher than April 2010)

1,244,009 units

980,107 units

Retail SAAR

11.1 million units

10.7 million units

9.3 million units

Total SAAR

13.1 million units

13.1 million units

11.2 million units

Forecast by Truecar:

TrueCar Unit Sales Forecast
Manufacturer April 2011 Forecast % Change vs. March 2011 % Change vs. April 2010
Chrysler 114,298 -5.7% 19.4%
Ford 187,523 -11.7% 15.2%
GM 195,404 -5.4% 6.7%
Honda 124,933 -6.5% 9.9%
Hyundai/Kia 107,800 1.6% 45.6%
Nissan 97,162 -19.8% 52.4%
Toyota 160,087 -9.2% 1.2%
Industry 1,145,209 -8.1% 16.6%

Forecast by Edmunds:

Change from April 2010 (Adjusted for one more selling day) Change from April 2010 (Unadjusted for one more selling days) Change from March 2011 (Same number of selling days)
Chrysler (Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep)
Ford (Ford, Lincoln, Mercury)
GM (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Saturn)
Honda (Acura, Honda)
Nissan (Infiniti, Nissan)
Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota)
Industry Total



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11 Comments on “April New Car Sales: The Last Hurrah?...”

  • avatar

    my gut feeling is the industry drops at least 10% from last month.

  • avatar

    I can’t speak for dealers everywhere, but our April sales have been on par, if not a little better, than March. Florida typically doesn’t follow the same trends as the northern states however – our sales increase over the winter months and drop down in the middle of the summer.

  • avatar

    This is far from an adequate sampling of all car buyers, but I know of a few colleagues who are postponing new car purchases, at least until the effects of the earthquake/tsunami on supplies and prices have passed.

    The perception is that this is not a good time to make the best deal, as they feel their negotiating power would be impaired by being told, “You’d better take this deal while we still have cars to sell!” Whether the supply issues are real or not, my friends’ attitudes point to a trust issue with dealerships. Surprising, huh?

  • avatar

    “The big unknown is how this market will adjust to supply restrictions, when demand has been the key problem for the past three years.”

    Once auto industry production capacity is restored and temporary supply/demand imbalances clear, the “big unknown” is how fast the phony economic recovery will unravel. Nationwide cheerleading not withstanding, we are in a depression, and it will get worse as state and local spending contracts in the face of increasing costs and declining revenues. This will be on top of an already very negative trend:

    “The inflation-adjusted income of the median household — smack in the middle of the populace — fell 4.8% between 2000 and 2009…”

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not quite as pessimistic about the recovery. My little slice of the nation was hit very hard by the collapse of the housing industry, but things pretty much bottomed out last year and since then we’ve been seeing an upswing. Homes are selling for more than they were a year or a year and a half ago, and I’m seeing more and more commercial construction, as well as some residential.

      That being said, the value of the dollar has to be addressed. I’m not sure what’s causing it to fall, that is an area of economics I’m not well versed in. It’s ridiculous though that the Canadian dollar has been worth slightly more than the US dollar recently – I remember trips to Canada in the not so distant past where everything was basically close to half price because of the currency differential.

      • 0 avatar

        “Homes are selling for more than they were a year or a year and a half ago…”

        Maybe where you live, but not anywhere else:

      • 0 avatar

        Nullo, I don’t know what part of Florida you’re in, but here in east central Florida home prices have been falling since 2007. Everything I’ve read indicates a continued decline in prices for at least another year or two. Personally, my home has dropped over 50% in value since the peak and continue to drop. Some day things will get better. I don’t see that light at the end of the tunnel yet.

      • 0 avatar

        Homes in Florida are selling for less than last year and values are expected to fall about 18% in 2011.

  • avatar
    George B

    At some point car and light truck sales will increase as people need to replace the ones that have worn out. Prices for used cars are really high. I’d be ready to buy a new car if their was something out there that I wanted. Too bad nobody builds a Japanese car with Italian design and German suspension tuning.

    • 0 avatar

      This is the position my parents are in. Used cars are expensive right but their current ride needs to be replaced. In addition gas prices continue their march towards $5 a gallon. One hurricane in the gulf and we could see $6! Thus the days of driving the more comfortable SUV everywhere are coming to an end. They have done some preliminary research and a new Hyundia looks like a purchase that will happen in the next month or so.

    • 0 avatar

      ” Too bad nobody builds a Japanese car with Italian design and German suspension tuning.”

      The last one of those was built in 2008. The Acura TL Type S: half Alfa and half Audi.

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