J.D. Power and LMC Automotive Report: New-Vehicle Sales Rebound in March to Highest Levels for the Month since 2005

Mar 20, 2015, 09:00 ET from J.D. Power

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., March 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. total new-vehicle sales in March 2015 are bouncing back from last month and are expected to reach their highest levels for the month in a decade, according to a monthly sales forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

After winter storms stymied sales in February, total new light-vehicle sales in March 2015 are expected to reach 1,539,600 units, a 4 percent increase on a selling-day adjusted basis compared with March 2014 and their highest levels for the month since March 2005 when 1,572,909 new vehicles were sold. 

Retail Light-Vehicle Sales
New-vehicle retail sales in March 2015 are projected to reach 1,234,700 units, a 4 percent increase on a selling-day adjusted basis compared with March 2014 (March 2015 has one fewer selling day than March 2014) and the highest retail sales volume for the month since March 2007 when sales hit 1,244,656.

The retail seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate (SAAR) in March is expected to be 13.6 million units, 449,000 units stronger than in March 2014 and the highest retail SAAR for the month since March 2002 (14.8 million).

"Inclement weather in February caused many consumers to delay their new-vehicle purchase until March," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. "Other key industry metrics continue to demonstrate the industry's underlying strength. The average new-vehicle transaction price so far in March is $30,530, the highest level ever for the month of March."

The combination of strong sales and high transaction prices positions March to set a new record for the month for consumer spending on new vehicles at approximately $37.7 billion, according to the Power Information Network (PIN) from J.D. Power. 

Humphrey notes that elevated transaction prices continue to be enabled by extended term loans. Thus far in March, extended term financing (loans of 72 months or longer) has been used in more than 35 percent of retail deliveries, on pace to set a new record for any month. 

Total Light-Vehicle Sales
Fleet volume in March is projected to hit 304,900 units—accounting for 20 percent of total sales—which is consistent with the year-to-date level. Fleet volume is expected to fall as the year progresses.

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive U.S. Sales and SAAR Comparisons


March 20151

February 2015

March 2014

New-Vehicle Retail Sales

1,234,700 units

(4% higher than March 2014)2

968,316 units

1,231,905 units

Total Vehicle Sales

1,539,600 units

(4% higher than March 2014)

1,255,769 units

1,534,381 units

Retail SAAR

13.6 million units

12.7 million units

13.1 million units

Total SAAR

17.0 million units

16.2 million units

16.4 million units


1Figures cited for March 2015 are forecasted based on the first 11 selling days of the month.

2The percentage change is adjusted based on the number of selling days in the month (25 days in March 2015 vs. 26 days in March 2014).

Sales Outlook
LMC Automotive is holding its 2015 U.S. forecast at 14.0 million units for retail sales and 17.0 million for total light-vehicle sales, both an increase of 3 percent from 2014.

"Autos didn't escape a weather-driven hit to the vigorous selling rate trend in February, but upward performance returns in March and is expected to continue throughout the year," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. "The U.S. continues to be one of the brighter spots in the global vehicle sales picture in 2015 with stable volume growth."

North American Production
The West Coast port strike, slow ramp-ups of new launches, weather and inventory corrections led to a reduction in overall production in February, compared with a year ago.  Despite negative pressures, output declined by less than 1 percent to 1.38 million units, signaling a stable environment for continued growth. Manufacturers were also able to clear a significant amount of inventory, as levels declined to a 69-day supply at the beginning of March, down from 82 days in February.

LMC Automotive production forecast for 2015 remains at 17.5 million units, a 3 percent gain from 2014. The small and compact segments will comprise more than 60 percent of the volume growth, with the compact premium car segment projected to have the largest volume growth at nearly 90,000 units.

About J.D. Power
J.D. Power is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. Power Information Network (PIN) from J.D. Power has revolutionized the automotive industry by collecting and analyzing real-time transaction-level data for new and used vehicles.  PIN's data and analytics help automakers and dealers manage risk, monitor metric performance and improve business results. Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power has offices in North/South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit www.JDPower.com. J.D. Power is a business unit of McGraw Hill Financial.

About McGraw Hill Financial 
McGraw Hill Financial  (NYSE: MHFI) is a leading financial intelligence company providing the global capital and commodity markets with independent benchmarks, credit ratings, portfolio and enterprise risk solutions, and analytics. The Company's iconic brands include: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL and J.D. Power. The Company has approximately 17,000 employees in 30 countries. Additional information is available at www.mhfi.com.

About LMC Automotive LMC Automotive is the premier supplier of automotive forecasts and intelligence to an extensive client base of automotive manufacturer, component supplier, logistics and distribution companies, as well as financial and government institutions around the world. LMC's global forecasting services encompass automotive sales, production and powertrain expertise, as well as advisory capability. LMC Automotive has locations in the United States, the UK, France, Germany, China, Japan and Thailand and is part of the Oxford, UK-based LMC group, the global leader in economic and business consultancy for the agribusiness sector.  For more information please visit www.lmc-auto.com.

Media Relations Contacts John Tews; J.D. Power; Troy, Mich.; 248-680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com Emmie Littlejohn; LMC Automotive; Troy, Mich.; 248-817-2100; elittlejohn@lmc-auto.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power or LMC Automotive. www.jdpower.com/corporate  www.lmc-auto.com

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SOURCE J.D. Power



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