April Sales Wrap-Up Sees Slight Overall Gain

J.D. Power and Associates - May 6, 2013

New car and light-truck sales in the U.S. mar­ket in April were weak­er than expect­ed, says J.D. Pow­er, but still showed some gains in some seg­ments.

Get the full sales per­for­mance wrap-up for April.

New car and light-truck sales in the U.S. mar­ket in April were weak­er than expect­ed, main­ly due to slow­er fleet sales, accord­ing to analy­sis by J.D. Pow­er and Asso­ciates’ Pow­er Infor­ma­tion Net­work® (PIN) and its strate­gic part­ner, LMC Auto­mo­tive. On a bright note, sales of com­pact crossovers and large pick­ups in April out­per­formed the industry’s increase near­ly four­fold.

Total sales (retail and fleet) in April edged up 4.3% from a year ago on a sell­ing-day adjust­ed basis*, and the April sea­son­al­ly adjust­ed annu­al sell­ing rate (SAAR) aver­aged 14.9 mil­lion units—the slow­est pace since Octo­ber 2012. It was the first time in the first four months of the year that the pace dipped below 15.0 mil­lion units.

Retail sales were slight­ly bet­ter than antic­i­pated, fin­ish­ing the month at 1.032 mil­lion units, which was an increase of 9.1% from April 2012 on a sell­ing-day adjust­ed basis. The retail SAAR was 12.1 mil­lion units, which was sig­nif­i­cant­ly stronger than last April’s 10.6 mil­lion-unit pace, and was 100,000 units stronger than the pace in March.

A few high­lights from PIN and LMC Auto­mo­tive analy­sis:

• The nego­ti­at­ed price of a new vehi­cle in April was up 3.0% from a year ago, but down 0.5% from last month (not sea­son­al­ly adjust­ed).

• The aver­age cash rebate amount was up 5.2% vs. a year ago, but down 4.1% from last month.

• Lease pen­e­tra­tion for the indus­try was steady with 23.6% of retail sales in April; up 3.5 per­cent­age points from last year.

• Seg­ments that out­per­formed the market’s over­all 4.3% increase in April include Com­pact CUVs (+22.4%), Large Pick­ups (+22.3%), and Mid­size Util­i­ties (+12.3%).

• The aver­age retail turn rate (aver­age num­ber of days that a vehi­cle remains on a dealer’s lot before being sold) in April was 57 days, which is down from 59 days in March, but 11 days longer than in April 2012.

*There were 25 sell­ing days in April 2013 and 24 in April 2012. The fig­ures in this post are sell­ing-day adjust­ed.





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