ERJ staff report (AN)
Detroit, Michigan -- US auto sales are projected to reach an annual selling rate of 14 million this month, J.D. Power and Associates said today as it lifted its forecast for the entire year.
That overall seasonally adjusted annual selling rate for light vehicles would fall just behind January's 14.2 million. Combined with four strong months to close 2011, it would give the industry a sixth straight month with a rate above 13 million.
"Retail light-vehicle sales in February are strong, which makes us modestly optimistic about the growth of sales going forward," John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at Power, said in a statement. "We're increasingly confident that the fundamentals are in place to support an upbeat outlook for the coming year."
LMC Automotive, Power's forecasting strategic partner, increased its full-year forecast for light-vehicles to 14.0 million units from 13.8 million -- and to 11.4 million units for retail sales, up from the previous11.3 million.
Power projects a February retail selling rate at 12.0 million, more than a million units above the annualised rate a year earlier.
Total US sales rose 10 percent last year to 12.8 million as the industry continued to recover from the 27-year lows of 2009.
Others are also optimistic.
On Wednesday, Richard Kwas of Wells Fargo Securities raised his February forecast range to "high 13 millions to low 14 millions" from a previous prediction of high 13 millions, citing better than expected results among major players in the first 20 days of the month.
Sid DeBoer, CEO of Lithia Motors, said Wednesday that the dealership group he founded is anticipating double-digit growth this year because of rising US auto sales.
"Through the first half of February, things are looking real solid," he said. "We look forward to continued growth in 2012."
From Automotive News (A Crain publication)
Press release from J D Power