Forecast: U.S. Vehicle Sales Will Approach Pre-Recession Levels in 2013
Author(s): Josh Cable
Jul. 22, 2013
While there's still plenty of debate about the health of U.S. manufacturing as a whole, all signs point to the automotive industry hitting on all cylinders.
Earlier this month, respected auto-industry analysts J.D. Power & Associates and LMC Automotive upped their 2013 U.S. light-vehicle forecast from 15.4 million units to 15.6 million units.
"With a strong tailwind, it is not unreasonable to think about a 16 million-unit level of demand in 2013," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive.
The last time the U.S. auto industry saw that kind of demand was 2007, when light-vehicle sales were at 16.5 million units, according to data from WardsAuto Group.
Sales bottomed out at 10.6 million units in 2009 and have been clawing back ever since.
"The overall trend in vehicle demand has outshined economic growth, and looking forward, the improving economic fundamentals should hold demand at the current level, if not accelerate it over the next several months," Schuster said.
J.D. Power and LMC Automotive expect sales to kick into high gear in July.
The firms are forecasting U.S. light-vehicle sales of 1.3 million units, an 11 percent jump from July 2012.
Through June, light-vehicle production in North America was up 4 percent year-over-year.
Ford Motor Co. paced the high-volume automakers with a 14 percent year-over-year increase in production.
Production volume at General Motors Co. was off 4 percent year-over-year, "due to weaker large-SUV volume ahead of the upcoming redesign and competitive pressure in the midsize-car segment," J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said.
Hyundai Motor Co. posted a 15 percent year-over-year increase in production.