March Sales Forecast: Strong, But No Huge Leaps

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
march sales forecast strong but no huge leaps

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’13Feb’13Mar’12YoYRetail1.160.931.095.9%Total1.471.191.404.5%Retail SAAR12.1012.1011.406.1%Total SAAR15.3015.3014.108.5%

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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  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Mar 21, 2013

    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.

  • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Mar 21, 2013

    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

    • See 3 previous
    • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Mar 21, 2013

      @jetcal1 That's true. Hadn't quite thought of it that way, LOL!

  • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Mar 21, 2013

    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.

  • Dimwit Dimwit on Mar 21, 2013

    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?

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    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Mar 23, 2013

      @highdesertcat 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.