Forecast: April Sales to Return to 17 Million SAAR Trend

A record-high April volume will result in a 17.6 million seasonally adjusted rate of sales.

Erin Sunde, Industry Analyst

April 22, 2016

2 Min Read
Forecast: April Sales to Return to 17 Million SAAR Trend

A WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to deliver 1.52 million light vehicles in April, a record-high volume for the month.

The report puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales for the month at 17.6 million units, well above last month’s 16.5 million and year-ago’s 16.7 million.

The forecasted daily sales rate of 56,325 over 27 days marks a 1.1% improvement from like-2015 (26 days). The 4.1% DSR decline from March (27 days) is better than the 3-year average March-to-April change, -8%.

The monthly volume will be 5.0% above last year. Beyond an extra selling day, this April lacks the Easter holiday, allowing full sales over five weekends.

The forecast also reflects improvements in the Conference Board’s Consumer Expectations Index, added jobs and increasing payrolls in the previous month.

The daily sales rate of light trucks is expected to grow 7.0% from last year, bringing those vehicles to their best-ever April volume (889,000) and share (58.4%). The DSR for cars is expected to fall 6.2% with 632,000 units.

WardsAuto is forecasting General Motors to account for 17.5% of April LV sales. The monthly total will be down 0.9% from year-ago as fleet deliveries slightly decline. The DSR is expected to slip 4.6%. The 267,000 forecasted deliveries would bring GM’s year-to-date total to 950,000, 0.3% below same-period 2015.

The report calls for Ford to sell 229,000 LVs for a 15.0% market share and 1.3% DSR gain. Fleet sales will remain above year-ago, but not as much as in the first three months of the year. The automaker is expected to finish the month with January-April sales of 855,000 million, up 7.2%.

Toyota’s daily sales should slip 1.6% for 208,000 total units and a 13.7% share, down from 14.0% in prior-year. Year-to-date, 779,000 deliveries will be 0.3% lower than like-2015.

FCA is projected to grab 12.7% of deliveries with just under 193,000 units, resulting in a 1.2% decrease in daily sales. The April total will bring FCA’s 4-month tally to 690,000, 7.2% above same-period year-ago.

Honda’s DSR is expected to rise 7.4% on 145,000 deliveries and giving the company a 9.5% share. Honda’s January-April improvement of 8.4% brings its total to 464,000 units.

The WardsAuto forecast also calls for Hyundai-Kia to outpace Nissan, ending an 11-month streak of Nissan pulling ahead. However, the gap will be more narrow than year-ago, as Hyundai Group is expected to sell 129,000 LVs (+2.4% DSR), and Nissan should deliver 122,000 (+7.0% DSR).

Projected April LV sales would bring U.S. automakers’ year-to-date sales to just under 5.39 million units, a 3.6% improvement from like-2015 and a 15-year high for the period.

Inventory is expected to rise from 3.82 million units at the end of March to 3.83 million units at the end of April, leaving automakers with a 68 days’ supply at forecast sales rates, greater than the 65 days for prior-month and year-ago.

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About the Author(s)

Erin Sunde

Industry Analyst, WardsAuto

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