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TrueCar: March auto sales likely to climb 7.6% as consumers spring to dealerships

Stable demand puts retail deliveries on track for 7.7% gain TrueCar, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRUE) projects total new vehicle sales, including fleet deliveries, will reach 1,663,000 units in March, up 7.6 percent from a year ago, the highest volume for the month since 2000. That level of growth would push the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) … Continued

Stable demand puts retail deliveries on track for 7.7% gain

TrueCar, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRUE) projects total new vehicle sales, including fleet deliveries, will reach 1,663,000 units in March, up 7.6 percent from a year ago, the highest volume for the month since 2000.

That level of growth would push the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for total light vehicle sales to an estimated 17.3 million units for the month, up from a 17.1 million-unit SAAR a year ago. Excluding fleet sales, U.S. retail deliveries of new cars and light trucks should rise 7.7 percent to 1,345,700 units on to steady consumer demand.

“Sales in the first quarter of this year continue to expand and the overall retail mix suggests consumers are still feeling confident,” said Eric Lyman, TrueCar’s vice president of industry insights. “Organic demand is always a favorable sign for automakers as it lessens their reliance on fleet sales, while sustaining healthy year-over-year growth.”

Honda Motor Co. may report the biggest year-over-year sales gain, as it is currently on pace for a 19 percent rise in volume. FCA will likely follow with a 13.7 percent sales increase. Nissan Motor Co. may post the third-biggest gains, with a 9.9 percent increase.

Volume for non-luxury, mass-market brands will likely expand by 7.7 percent versus last year, while sales of luxury models may grow only 6.5 percent. Compact crossover vehicles remain in high-demand in March and will be among the industry’s biggest volume segments.

“Small crossovers continue to make a big splash in the market, but the small car segment hasn’t been forgotten,” said Stacey Doyle, TrueCar’s senior industry analyst. “The all-new Honda Civic is a hot product that has been well received by consumers, and as a result we expect Honda to see the highest retail sales growth this month.”

Incentive spending by automakers averaged an estimated $3,005 per vehicle in March, up 10.4 percent from a year ago, though down 0.9 percent from February 2016.

The Federal Open Market Committee left interest rates unchanged this month and overall U.S. economic conditions remain healthy. February’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, the lowest for that month in eight years, while gasoline prices remain favorable for consumers, falling to a national average of $1.99 per gallon on March 23 from $2.42 a year earlier.

Other key findings for March:

  • Registration mix is expected to be 80.9 percent retail sales and 19.1 percent fleet versus 80.9 percent retail and 19.1 percent fleet last March.
  • Total used auto sales, including franchise and independent dealerships and private-party transactions, may reach 3,549,408, up 5 percent from March 2015.

Forecasts for the 12 largest manufacturers by volume:

Total Unit Sales

Manufacturer March

 2016 Forecast

% Change vs. March 2015 % Change vs. March 2015

(Daily Selling Rate)

BMW                           40,600 1.0% -6.5%
Daimler                           34,100 3.7% -4.0%
FCA                        225,400 13.7% 5.3%
Ford                        256,500 9.2% 1.2%
GM                        265,600 6.3% -1.6%
Honda                        150,300 19.0% 10.2%
Hyundai                           67,000 -10.7% -17.3%
Kia                           60,000 2.1% -5.5%
Nissan                        159,500 9.9% 1.8%
Subaru                           49,000 -0.2% -7.6%
Toyota                        237,500 5.1% -2.7%
Volkswagen Group                           51,600 -0.3% -7.7%
Industry                     1,663,000 7.6% -0.4% 

Total Market Share

Manufacturer

March 2016 Forecast

March 2015

February 2016

BMW 2.4% 2.6% 1.9%
Daimler 2.1% 2.1% 1.9%
FCA 13.6% 12.8% 13.7%
Ford 15.4% 15.2% 16.1%
GM 16.0% 16.2% 16.9%
Honda 9.0% 8.2% 8.9%
Hyundai 4.0% 4.9% 3.9%
Kia 3.6% 3.8% 3.7%
Nissan 9.6% 9.4% 9.7%
Subaru 2.9% 3.2% 3.1%
Toyota 14.3% 14.6% 14.0%
Volkswagen Group 3.1% 3.3% 2.8%

Retail Unit Sales

Manufacturer March 2016 Forecast % Change vs. March 2015 % Change vs. March 2015

(Daily Selling Rate)

BMW                           39,400 1.3% -6.2%
Daimler                           32,000 3.7% -4.0%
FCA                        164,900 8.3% 0.3%
Ford                        169,300 1.5% -6.1%
GM                        211,100 15.5% 7.0%
Honda                        148,500 18.5% 9.7%
Hyundai                           51,500 -8.2% -15.0%
Kia                           48,300 7.6% -0.4%
Nissan                        121,700 2.1% -5.4%
Subaru                           46,500 -3.7% -10.9%
Toyota                        209,100 10.0% 1.8%
Volkswagen Group                           45,764 0.0% -7.4%
Industry                     1,345,700 7.7% -0.3%

Incentive Spending

Manufacturer

Incentive per Unit March 2016 Forecast

Incentive per Unit % Change vs. March 2015

Incentive per Unit % Change vs. February 2016

Total Spending March 2016 Forecast

BMW $4,816 -4.3% 5.0% $195,031,733
Daimler $3,981 -0.1% 6.0% $135,759,542
FCA $3,887 13.7% -0.7% $870,728,786
Ford $3,271 15.0% -1.4% $838,997,045
GM $3,943 28.5% -2.0% $1,047,240,511
Honda $1,590 -11.2% 6.7% $238,931,377
Hyundai $2,163 -16.1% 3.0% $144,897,650
Kia $2,868 4.8% -0.1% $172,065,223
Nissan $3,362 5.6% -1.0% $536,273,370
Subaru $569 -21.7% 2.2% $27,892,618
Toyota $2,027 10.7% -3.6% $481,497,396
Volkswagen Group $3,349 21.6% -1.1% $171,827,772
Industry $3,005 10.4% -0.9% $4,985,111,808

(Note: This forecast is based solely on TrueCar’s analysis of industry sales trends and conditions and is not a projection of the company’s operations.)

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