AutoMotion Blog

April New-Vehicle Sales Rise vs. 2012 as Consumers Continue to Replace Aging Vehicles

4/22/2013
In April, consumers continue to replace their aging vehicles--the average age of the vehicle fleet in the United States was 11.0 years--with new cars and light trucks, especially since the prices of used vehicles have also remained strong this year, according to research from J.D. Power's Power Information Network(R) (PIN) and strategic forecasting partner LMC Automotive.

New U.S. car and light-truck sales are expected to reach 1.3 million units this month, which would be 7% higher than the 1.2 million units sold in the same month last year. Sales percentage changes are calculated based on the number of selling days in April of both years (April 2013 has 25 selling days, while April 2012 had 24).

Retail deliveries, which are the sales transactions tracked at dealerships and are considered the most reliable indicators of consumer demand, are anticipated to rise 9% from a year ago on a selling-day adjusted basis. J.D. Power also expects the fleet portion of total sales, which includes corporate and rental car purchases, to be slightly stronger this month than a year ago, and account for 22% of the total sales mix in April.

J.D. Power's PIN real-time sales data collected from dealerships across the country this month also indicate that transaction prices for new vehicles have risen 3.1% from a year ago, while the average price of used vehicles sold at franchised dealerships has risen 3.8% during the first 4 months of 2013 vs. the same time frame in 2012.

John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power and Associates, said that auto sales in the U.S. market are also benefiting from an increase in the number of off-lease vehicles coming back into the market--resulting in more new buyers--and that trend will continue through the rest of the year.

J.D. Power's PIN data projects that overall lease maturities will climb by more than one-third from 2012 to a total of 1.73 million vehicle leases that will come due in 2013, which would be an increase of 447,000 lease maturities from 2012.

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