There will likely be about 3.5 million used vehicles sold this month, beating January figures of 3.1 million, Edmunds projected in its latest monthly auto-sales forecast, which was released last week.
The seasonally adjusted annualized rate is expected to come in at 39.3 million, versus 39.2 million a month ago, according to Edmunds.
In similar, separate analyses released Monday, both J.D. Power and Cox Automotive touched on economic and political trends that could have an impact on the used-car market.
In the J.D. Power analysis, Jeff Schuster — who is president of the Americas operations and global vehicle forecasts at LMC Automotive — shared the overall auto sales impact of potential tariffs, including the pre-owned.
“Tariff risk on automotive imports from outside North America and South Korea is once again clouding an otherwise stable U.S. auto market. Last year, 23 percent of U.S. sales were sourced from outside of North America, 47 percent from Japan and 32 percent from Europe,” Schuster said. “A tariff of 25 percent could significantly raise prices and lower U.S. demand by as much as 700,000 units in 2019 as consumers delay purchases and shift to the used car market. The risk is real.”
In his Auto Market Weekly Summary for Monday, Cox Automotive chief economist Jonathan Smoke shared some data on tax returns and the potential impact those trends may have on auto sales.
There was a 6.6-percent decline in cumulative amount of tax returns processed, as of Feb. 15, Smoke said. There are 26.5 percent fewer tax refunds than a year ago and the amount has slid 38.8 percent. There has been a 16.7-percent dip in the average refund, Smoke said.
“It is important to note that the trend could dramatically change going into March as the IRS expects the earliest Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit filers to begin receiving their refunds,” Smoke said.
“We have been expecting slower, lower refunds to prevent some consumers from spending on things like used vehicles or catching up on bills. The coming weeks will tell to what extent that is true.”