Forecasters predicted U.S. auto sales of about 1.4 million cars and trucks when automakers report April auto sales on Thursday, May 1.
Cars.com said April auto sales of about 1.4 million would be a 10 percent increase from April 2013. The April sales increase hikes the estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate to about 16.3 million, the highest for the month of April since 2006, according to Cars.com. The monthly SAAR is an estimate of sales for the full year, based on the April sales pace.
Cars.com said sales are going up and so are discounts. The online shopping site said it expects the average industry transaction price, net of incentives, to decrease about 3 percent to $29,810. That’s $864 lower than the same month a year ago. The average industry incentive for April was an estimated $2,580, Cars.com said, an increase of $41 from a year ago.
Of the domestic U.S. manufacturers, Cars.com expected Chrysler Group to have the biggest percent increase in sales from a year ago, up 13.7 percent. Ford Motor Co. and GM were expected to be up 2.5 percent.
TrueCar had a similar April forecast, with a monthly SAAR of 16.2 million, and an expected increase in the average industry incentive, although its forecast for the average incentive was higher, at $2,751 for April 2014.
Larry Dominique, president of ALG Inc. and executive vice president of TrueCar, said Asian brands led the increase in incentives. TrueCar also expected Chrysler Group to have the biggest percent increase of the U.S. domestic manufacturers.
The Kelly Blue Book forecast for April was a SAAR of 16.3 million, based on roughly the same unit sales for April of about 1.4 million cars and trucks. In April 2013, the SAAR was 15.2 million, Kelly Blue Book said.
Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelly Blue Book, said consumer confidence is rising and employment conditions are improving.
The SAAR forecast for J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive was on the low side, at 16.1 million, even though their forecast for unit sales was in the same range as other forecasters, at around 1.4 million.
Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, said the spring selling season is under way, with 63 new or redesigned vehicles expected for the 2015 model year, including a big increase in smaller cars from luxury brands.