J.D. Power and Associates said that retail sales of new vehicles in October are expected to be the strongest for 2010. The forecasting firm said that there won’t be a midmonth buying lull in the US. For October, J.D. Power expects sales to individual customers to total to 756,300 vehicles.
This figure, which doesn’t include sales to daily rental and other fleets, would translate to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate by that measure of 10.2 million vehicles. The previous high had been last September with 9.5 million.
In a statement, Jeff Schuster, J.D. Power's executive director of global forecasting, said that other months have experienced a drop in sales midmonth (such as in July, August and September) but the sales rate of October has been persistently strong through the second week.
J.D. Power predicts total light-vehicle sales to increase by 14% from October 2009, with fleet sales making up 18% of the total.
Schuster said that even with the drag from high unemployment and lower incentive levels, the automotive market continues to improve in October. He thinks that this indicates that consumers are “discounting the negative sentiment.” As the rate of economic improvement has plunged short of expectations, J.D. Power lowered its full-year sales outlook for 2010 and 2011.
From a sales prediction of 9.2 million units for the entire 2010, J.D. Power now expects 9.1 million units. It also lowered its previous estimate of 11.6 million fleet sales down to 11.5 million units.