Falling gasoline prices and continued pent-up demand have spurred spending on new cars and light trucks, with average retail transaction prices rising more than 3% in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). The average retail transaction price for a new vehicle was $33,189 through the first quarter.
NADA has forecasted sales of 16.94 million new-light vehicles for 2015, with the automotive-retailing sector continuing to outpace growth in the overall U.S. economy. Even though economic and employment growth were slower than expected in the first quarter of 2015, vehicle sales remained strong.
Light-truck sales in April have increased the sector’s market share, year-to-date to nearly 55%. Small and midsize cars lost the most market share, leading to rising dealership inventories, climbing manufacturer incentives and manufacturers reducing production.
WardsAuto forecasts final April new car and light truck sales will reach 1.474 million vehicles. The report puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales for the month at 16.8 million units, down from March’s 17.1 million SAAR, but some 800,000 units above year-ago and slightly ahead of the 16.8 million first-quarter SAAR.
Kelly Blue Book expects new vehicle sales to increase 5.2% year-over-year to a total of 1.46 million units in April 2015, resulting in an estimated 16.5 million SAAR. In terms of volume, Kelly Blue Book expects April 2015 sales to be the best April since 2005.
Total sales in 2015 are projected to hit 16.9 million units overall in 2015, a 2.5% year-over-year increase and the highest overall total since 2005, according to Kelly Blue Book analysts.