Sales Forecasts

Used Sales Likely to Eclipse 3M in April

CARY, N.C.  - 

Though initial projections for April’s used-car sales total vary a bit, it appears the market should well exceed 3 million units sold for the month.

TrueCar is forecasting just over 3.4 million used sales for April, with a new-to-used ratio of approximately 1-to-2.5. 

Meanwhile, over at, analysts are projecting 3.08 million used-car sales this month. That would results in a used SAAR of 35.4 million. In March, Edmunds indicates there were 3.43 million used sales with a SAAR of 34.9 million.

These projections arrived around the same time that the publicly traded dealership groups were issuing their performance reports from the first quarter.

Below is a rundown of how their retail used-vehicle sales fared in Q1, according to their respective earnings releases:

Q1 Retail Used-Vehicle Unit Sales: 52,136
Year-Over-Year Change: Up 3.2 percent

Sonic Automotive
Q1 Retail Used-Vehicle Unit Sales: 27,657
Year-Over-Year Change: Up 4.5 percent

Asbury Automotive Group
Q1 Retail Used-Vehicle Unit Sales: 18,503
Year-Over-Year Change: Up 13.2 percent

Group 1 Automotive
Q1 Retail Used-Vehicle Unit Sales: 26,877*                       
Year-Over-Year Change: Up 15.7 percent*
*Note: Includes international and U.S. results

Penske Automotive Group
Q1 Retail Used-Vehicle Unit Sales: 45,370*
Year-Over-Year Change: Up 14.8 percent*
*Note: Includes international and U.S. results

Lithia Motors
Q1 Retail Used-Vehicle Unit Sales: 16,316     
Year-Over-Year Change: Up 19.4 percent

CNW Projects 'Healthy' Used Sales of 3.1M

BANDON, Ore.  - 

Used-car sales for March likely climbed just under 4 percent year-over-year, according to CNW Research, which also noticed that both used supply and retail prices were falling during the month.

In its latest Retail Automotive Summary, CNW predicted March used-car sales of 3.12 million units when combining projected figures from franchised and independent dealers with private-party transactions.

This sum would be a 3.8-percent year-over-year increase and put the first-quarter used-car sales tally at 7.51 million units, a 0.9-percent gain.

Franchised dealers are expected to have sold 1.15 million used units in March, up 5.8 percent from a year ago. Indepedents likely moved 1.09 million used cars for a 13.5-percent gain. CNW was forecasting an 8.3-percent decline in private-party sales, which were pegged at 880,996 units for the month.

As for Q1 results, franchised dealers likely sold 2.73 million used units (up 2.4 percent) and independents were at 2.49 million units (up 4.4 percent), with private-party sales of 2.29 million (down 4.6 percent).

Moving along, CNW also noted that floor traffic dropped during March. Art Spinella, company president, explained in the report the relationship that trend has had with used supply.

“Floor traffic at used-car outlets is off 4 percent, but those who are still in the market and making those showroom visits are buying more often, boosting the overall sales numbers,” he noted. “The result is that days’ supply of used vehicles actually slid 6.3 percent as inventory was picked over in some parts of the country and a ready source of the hot or most popular models was unavailable.”

Delving into pricing trends, franchised dealers’ asking prices were expected to be down 3.47 percent year-over-year in March, with transaction prices down 1.49 percent. As for independent dealers, their asking prices were predicted to fall 4.17 percent from March 2013 with transaction prices down 1.56 percent.

“On the positive side, both channels had positive percentages for share of asking price they received,” Spinella noted.

More specifically, for franchised dealers that was 96.05 percent (up from 94.12 percent in March 2013); for independents, it was 96.37 percent (up from 93.81 percent).

Webb Advises How to Tend Economic Garden


While parts of the Northeast are digging out from one last snowstorm of the season, Manheim’s Tom Webb chose to tie together gardening and how the industry is improving.

In the March Auto Industry Brief from Manheim Consulting, Webb explained many economic watchers will be looking at how warmer weather will help performance.

“Now that the weather has begun to thaw in many parts of the country, it is predictable that analysts will be pointing to every ‘green shoot’ as a harbinger of accelerating economic growth,” Webb said.

“We’re optimistic that the recovery can continue apace, but would be skeptical about any sign that promises a meaningful quickening in the rate of growth,” he continued. “Most green shoots prove to be weeds. They are quick growers – and, indeed, might even look nice after a harsh winter — but they are nothing to celebrate.”

Webb elaborated on his gardening analogies with a recommendation to policy makers who oversee how the economy functions.

“Those tending the economic garden would be wise to nourish that which is already growing, select plant seeds known to produce, and be patient,” Webb said.

“Our economic garden already has a horrendous weed (entitlement spending) that threatens to crowd out all else. It’s idealistic to think that large clump can be removed, but we should at least avoid watering it with indiscriminate stimulus,” he added.

Webb didn’t leave his economic garden discussion before touching on how the auto industry fits into the landscape that is the U.S. economy.

“Since the recovery’s beginning, the auto industry has been the fast-growing, hardiest and prettiest plant in the garden,” he said. “Even heavy winter snows failed to completely cover it.

“Our belief is that the auto industry recovery has nearly reached its mature height,” Webb went on to say. “We shouldn’t dump fertilizer (incentives) on it. It will only grow gangly and burn out.”

Used Sales to Eclipse 3.4M for March

SANTA MONICA, Calif.  - 

Used-vehicle sales this month are likely to be north of 3.4 million, says, which released its monthly new- and used-car projections on Monday.

Specifically, TrueCar is forecasting an estimated 3.437 million used sales for March with a projected new-to-used ratio of 1:2.3.

The firm is calling for 1.478 million new-vehicle sales (including fleet sales) for the month, which would be a 1.8 year-over-year hike and more than a 24-percent improvement from February — but still not as high as analysts would have liked, said TrueCar and ALG executive Larry Dominique.

“The spring thaw has resulted in a slight improvement in vehicle sales, but not nearly the improvement analysts hoped they would see,” said Dominique, who is president of ALG and executive vice president of TrueCar. “With incentives rising at a rate four-times greater than sales, expect an aggressive final week of selling in March and an equally aggressive April.

“An incentive-fueled battle is on the horizon.”

Speaking of incentives, TrueCar anticipates approximate per unit spending will climb 7.9 percent year-over-year (and 2.6 percent month-over-month) to reach $2,773 for the month.

The firm is projecting a new-car seasonally adjusted annualized rate (“SAAR”) of 15.7 million units. This would a 3.1 percent year-over-year increase and a 2.8-percent gain from February.

The company’s full-year new-vehicle sales guidance remains at 16.1 million units.


Who's Most Likely to Spend Tax Refund on Car?


It’s tax time, and for many, that also means it’s car shopping time.

According to an online study conducted on behalf of CarMax, 17 percent of people expecting a tax refund are likely to put that money toward buying a car.

And the likelihood of someone expecting a refund using that money for car buying is even higher if that person lives in the South (22 percent), is under 35 (29 percent) or is a parent (26 percent).

An infographic from CarMax also suggests that men are likely than women to put a tax refund towards a car purchase, and there’s also a greater chance an unmarried person will use the refund for a car purchase than a married person.

“Historically, tax refund season has been a very busy time for CarMax,” says Cliff Wood, executive vice president of stores at CarMax. “Buying a car any time of the year is a big decision, and we work to make the process fun and hassle-free so customers can focus on what matters most: finding the perfect car for them.”