An Early Look at April Sales
These past few months, week-to-week sales have bounced around a bit. In February, sales at mid-month were tracking for a weaker close than we actually saw. In March, the opposite occurred. For April, we have the added complexity of tax filing. (Will refunds boost sales, or will payments hurt sales?) Add to that what seems to be a slightly more difficult environment for retail sales overall — is the payroll tax hike finally being felt? — and small declines in government payrolls from the sequester, and forecasting gets especially tricky.
Having said all that, it is interesting that sales still seem to be running within the range we have seen established for the year — even up slightly from March. Will this continue through the entire month? We will have to wait and see.
The pacing so far points to April retail sales ending up at around 1.09m units for a SAAR of 12.6m. (This compares with 1.17m units and a SAAR of 12.2m last month). Assuming a fleet mix of around 18.0% (April's fleet mix usually is about 2 percentage points lower than March, which was around 19.8%), then April will have total vehicle sales of around 1.33m units and a SAAR of 15.4m. (Last month total sales were 1.45m units and the SAAR was 15.2m).
Looking at any retail share shifts, Honda is up significantly (+14%), while Nissan is down considerably at -16%. (Nissan did have a big month in March.) Here are the details: