The January new-vehicle selling rate is off to a strong start in 2013, with the highest retail selling rate for the month of January in five years, according to a monthly sales forecast developed by J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network (PIN) and LMC Automotive.

January new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at 812,600 vehicles, which represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 12.9 million units, and well ahead of the expected 12.4-million-unit annual level for 2013. Retail transactions are the most accurate measurement of true underlying consumer demand for new vehicles.

“The year is off to a fast start, which bodes well for the remainder of 2013,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. “Building on the momentum the industry has been gaining over the past two years, sales remain on a trajectory to return to pre-recession levels within the next few years.”

Total light-vehicle sales in January 2013 are projected to reach 1,027,700 units, an eight percent increase from January 2012. Fleet share is expected to reach 21 percent, considerably lower than the 25 percent share in January 2012, signaling continued discipline in the industryrelated rental car fleet sales.

North America light vehicle production was 15.4 million units in 2012, which is 18 percent higher than in 2011.

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