Vehicle manufacturers in the United States experienced a strong start to the year, and this may continue as the summer approaches.
Overall retail sales for light vehicles should reach 1.27 million units in May, 4 percent higher than the 1.17 million units recorded during the same month in 2013, according to a forecast completed jointly between LMC Automotive and J.D. Power. The figure was also improved from the previous month's level of 1.19 million units.
For the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of sales, May should have a total of 13.6 million units sold in retail, the report showed. This level was sizably improved from 12 months earlier, when 12.8 million units were sold. It also was slightly higher than the 13.2 million units sold in April.
"The anticipated strong performance in May reflects the combination of strong underlying demand coupled with a quirk of the industry sales calendar, with the May sales month containing five weekends, compared with just four weekends last May," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. "The record level of consumer spending reflects a combination of record transaction prices in May – which, at $29,600, are up $800 from the previous May high of $28,795 set in 2013 – and the strongest retail sales performance in May since 2004."
For the total level of vehicle sales, 1.54 million units were sold in May, 3 percent improved from the same month last year, when it was 1.44 million vehicles, the report noted. It also was higher than April's 1.38 million units.
Another improvement occurred for the Total SAAR in May, as it reached 16.1 million units, a jump from the same point in 2013, when it was 15.4 million vehicles, as well as April's 16 million units.
April Toyota sales make gains
Many individual automakers experienced a boost in sales during the early part of the year, which could bode well for both investors and consumers alike. According to a report from Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc., the company sold 199,660 units during April, 9 percent higher than the same month last year when considering the daily selling rate. Without that adjustment, transactions rose 13.3 percent year-over-year.
When focusing on the Toyota brand, the April transaction level nearly reached 176,500 units, more than 7 percent higher than 12 months earlier with the daily selling rate, the report showed. Without that rate, the jump was 11.7 percent.
Lexus also had some improvements during the month, as the daily selling rate-adjusted sales rose more than 23 percent year-over-year in April to 23,165 units, the report noted. This was also 28 percent higher when considering the figure's raw volume.
"Sales momentum from March rolled into April pushing the industry to its best back-to-back monthly sales pace since fall of 2007," said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager for the Toyota division. "For Toyota, truck sales continue to soar. Tundra is a highlight with double-digit gains as comfort, safety and technology of the all-new model remain a strong draw for consumers."
Vehicle prices rise in April
While sales are gaining strength throughout much of the country, the overall price level is also improving. According to a report from Kelley Blue Book, the average new car price in April was $32,141, 1.2 percent higher than the same point last year, as well as nearly level from the previous month's figure.
Volkswagen had the highest price during the month, as it posted an average of $38,064, the report added. Hyundai-Kia had the lowest average in April, with a figure of $24,066.