Can U.S. auto sales keep the pace in March that they’ve already set so far in 2012? The answer is an emphatic yes, according to auto forecasting firm TrueCar.com. In fact, TrueCar is projecting that March U.S. auto sales will hit a level not seen since August 2007.
TrueCar forecasts March 2012 new light-vehicle sales of 1.42 million, up 13.7% from last March and 23.3% higher than February 2012.
“We are looking at a record breaking month for many manufacturers in March,” said Jesse Toprak, vice president of Market Intelligence for TrueCar.com, in a statement. He noted that Hyundai, Nissan (NSANY) andVolkswagen (VLKAY) could see their highest unit sales ever in the U.S.
Toprak added that Chrysler, Ford (F),GM (GM), Honda (HMC) andToyota (TM) will report “an extremely strong month,” with some of the best sales in years. “Due to stronger than expected recovery,” he said, “we’ve increased our sales forecast another 3.6 percent, from 14.0 million unit sales to 14.5 million unit sales in 2012.”
In addition, TrueCar says automakers will hit these robust numbers while relying less on incentives such as rebates and low-cost financing. Per-unit incentive costs are projected to be 1.5% lower in March 2012 versus February 2012 and 1.7% lower than March 2011.
Putting the firm’s analysis into a broader perspective, Kristen Andersson, senior analyst at TrueCar, said: “Consumers who wanted a new vehicle, but were cautiously sitting on the sidelines, are entering the market and feeling more confident about buying. Automakers have hit the sweet spot this month with lowered incentives and double digit sales increases, which signifies the underlying strength in consumer demand.”