What does the used-car market look like in the first full month of spring?
Slower than March, but still above 3 million unit sales for the month, with a seasonally adjusted annualized rate north of 39 million, according to one industry observer.
Edmunds is calling for 3.4 million used-car sales this month, which would be down from 3.7 million in March. The resulting used-car SAAR would be 39.1 million, compared to 39.2 million last month.
But used-car sales should grow this year.
In its Used Vehicle Outlook 2019 report, Edmunds pegged 2018 used-car sales at 40.2 million, a sum it anticipates will climb in 2019.
“Used vehicles have finally emerged as a compelling alternative to new, and market factors in 2019 will only increase their appeal,” Edmunds said in that report, which was released in March. “Growing new-vehicle transaction prices and an oversupply of used vehicles have expanded the savings advantage in pre-owned vehicles.
“Additionally, consumers give up less going the used route since late-model cars are rich in technology and come in the body styles,” it said.
Edmunds later added: “While the new-vehicle market is expected to fall below 17 million sales for the first time in five years, we expect used-vehicle sales, which crossed 40 million units in 2018, to strengthen and grow.”
On the new-car side, ALG — the data and analytics subsidiary of TrueCar — is projecting 1.38 million total new-vehicle sales for April, a 2-percent year-over-year decrease, accounting for sales days adjustment. The new-car SAAR would break the 17 million threshold for the second straight month, with expectations for April at 17.1 million, ALG said.
The company is forecast new-car retail sales of 1.11 million, down 5.4 percent year-over-year.
“In line with the trend this year, the auto industry continues to show some struggles in retail sales,” ALG chief economist Oliver Strauss said in a news release. “Nevertheless, reaching 17 million SAAR for the second consecutive month is an indicator of health and stability and consumers continue to remain confident in a robust economic environment.”