Edmunds.com September Auto Sales Forecast: Industry Achieves Highest Monthly SAAR Since April
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — September 29, 2011 — An estimated 1,038,052 new cars will be sold in September for a projected Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 12.9 million light vehicles, forecasts Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information. The sales pace marks the highest monthly SAAR since the 13.2 million light vehicles reported in April. That was the last full month before supply disruptions stemming from the Japanese earthquake had a true impact on sales.
September's sales forecast is an encouraging sign for the automotive industry, but the momentum likely won't be enough to get sales back on track for the growth that was first projected at the beginning of the year. Earlier this month, Edmunds.com lowered its 2011 auto sales forecast from 12.9 million to 12.6 million vehicles.
"Some consumers who deferred purchases earlier this summer are responding to improving vehicle supply and more competitive prices, and those purchases will be reflected in September's sales results," said Edmunds.com Chief Economist Lacey Plache. "But declining economic conditions are keeping other consumers away from dealer lots and will continue to do so at least through the end of the year."
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Overall sales are expected to be down 3.1 percent from August 2011 and up 8.3 percent over September 2010. Edmunds.com estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 10.6 million vehicles in September, with fleet sales accounting for 18 percent of all sales this month.
HONDA ENJOYS BIGGEST GAINS
Edmunds.com forecasts that Honda will see the biggest month-over-month gains among the top six automakers. Honda projects to sell 10.6 percent more vehicles in September than August, but 6.5 percent fewer vehicles than in September 2010. The boost in sales is expected to bring Honda a 1.1 percentage point increase in market share.
"Honda's momentum this month is a direct reflection of all the hard work it has put into getting its production and supply issues back to normal," said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds.com. 'With more cars available to sell, Honda is finally in a position to be a lot more flexible with incentives and pricing than it has been over the last several months, and consumers are responding."
Ford Motor Co. bounced back in September after it was the only major manufacturer in August that showed a decrease in month-over-month sales. Edmunds.com forecasts that Ford will sell 178,654 vehicles this month, a 2.2 percent increase over August. The bump in sales is expected to account for a 0.9 point gain in market share.
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Ford's Detroit rivals, GM and Chrysler, will likely have the most disappointing month of any of the Big 6 manufacturers. Despite a strong showing on the retail side, lower fleet sales this month will have dropped GM's overall sales 5.5 percent compared with August, leading to a 0.5 point drop in market share. Chrysler, meanwhile, will see sales drop 5.6 percent, for a 0.3 point decline in market share, according to Edmunds.com.
Additional data on sales, market share and incentive spending can also be found in Edmunds.com's Data Center at http://www.autoobserver.com/car-data-center/.
About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.