Forecast: February U.S. LV Sales Continue Gains

The latest WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to sell 1.29 million light vehicles this month, equating to a 16.7 million-unit SAAR.

John Sousanis, Director, Information Content

February 27, 2015

2 Min Read
Forecast: February U.S. LV Sales Continue Gains

A WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to deliver 1.29 million light vehicles this month, marking the industry’s best February since 2002, on both a total-volume and daily-sales basis.

The forecasted daily sales rate (DSR) of 53,859 over 24 days represents an 8.8% improvement from like-2014 (24 days) and a 22.2% month-to-month improvement over January (26 days).

The report puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales for the month at 16.7 million units, compared with year-ago’s 15.3 million and January’s 16.6 million mark.

While January was relatively robust (up 9.3% over year-ago) there is some thought that first month deliveries suffered from December pull-ahead sales.

Inventory at the start of February reached 3.56 million units, enough to support sales at the forecasted rate and leave the industry with just under 3.5 million vehicles, and a healthy 64 days’ supply at the end of the month, down considerably from 81 days at the end of January.

WardsAuto is forecasting General Motors will account for 18.5% of February LV sales, with 239,000 deliveries – a 7.5% improvement on year-ago.

The report calls for Ford to sell 196,000 LVs and remain in the No.2 sales spot it reclaimed from Toyota in January. The projected sales would give Ford a 15.1% market share.

Toyota daily sales should rise 10.6% on 176,000 deliveries, leaving the Japanese automaker with a 13.6% take, down more than a point from its 14.4% January share. Indeed, strong truck sales at FCA could leave Toyota in the No.4 position for the first time since September.

FCA’s projected 13.4% market share, on forecasted deliveries of just under 173,000 units, would be the automaker’s highest penetration since September as well.

The forecast calls for Nissan to outsell Honda for the second consecutive month, on the strength of 126,000 deliveries, compared with a projected 112,000 units for Honda.

The overall forecast reflects continued positive consumer sentiment, including a 10-year high in consumer optimism as measured in the January Thomson Reuters University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. Early reports also indicate that retail sales of vehicles were particularly strong at the start of the month, further raising expectations. 

At forecast levels, February sales would bring the 2-month year-to-date LV sales total to 2.44 million units, an 11% gain over same-period 2014. WardsAuto is currently forecasting 16.8 million LV sales for calendar year 2015, with a total Q1 SAAR approaching the 16.7 million-unit rate that would be in line with second half 2014.

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About the Author(s)

John Sousanis

Director, Information Content, WardsAuto

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