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J.D. Power and LMC Automotive Report: Strong New-Vehicle Sales in February Drives Robust Selling Rate

  J.D. Power and LMC Automotive Report: Strong New-Vehicle Sales in February
                          Drives Robust Selling Rate

PR Newswire

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Feb. 22, 2013

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Feb. 22,2013 /PRNewswire/ --The new-vehicle retail
selling rate in February remains above 12 million units—stronger than it was a
year ago—as the auto industry recovery continues, according to a monthly sales
forecast developed by J.D. Power and Associates' Power Information Network®
(PIN) and LMC Automotive.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130222/LA64660)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050527/LAF028LOGO-a)

Retail Light-Vehicle Sales
February new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at 931,100 vehicles,
which represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 12.1 million
units, a decline from the robust 13.1 million SAAR in January, but stronger
than the 11.7 million SAAR in February 2012. Retail transactions are the most
accurate measurement of true underlying consumer demand for new vehicles.

"All signs of the industry's health are positive right now," said John
Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D.
Power and Associates. "Average transaction prices are up, incentives are
stable, leasing is at a healthy level and newly redesigned models continue to
make an impact on the marketplace."

"Demand is increasing, but the automakers deserve credit for doing a much
better job of keeping alignment of production and demand." said Humphrey.
"This has led to new-vehicle transaction prices that are averaging nearly
$1,000 more in February than the same period in 2012 while incentives have
remained relatively flat year over year."

Total Light-Vehicle Sales
Total light-vehicle sales in February 2013 are projected to reach 1,176,200
units, a seven percent increase from February 2012 and the fourth consecutive
month with the selling rate at or above 15.2 million units. Fleet share is
expected to remain at the January level of 21 percent.

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive U.S. Sales and SAAR Comparisons

                    February 2013^1            January 2013    February 2012
                    931,100 units^2
New-Vehicle Retail                             822,018 units   887,924 units
Sales               (9% higher than February
                    2012)
                    1,176,200 units
Total Vehicle Sales                            1,041,982 units 1,147,761 units
                    (7% higher than February
                    2012)
Retail SAAR         12.1 million units         13.1 million    11.7 million
                                               units           units
Total SAAR          15.2 million units         15.2 million    14.4 million
                                               units           units

^1Figures cited for February 2013 are forecasted based on the first 14 selling
days of the month.
^2The percentage change is adjusted based on the number of selling days in the
month (24 days in February 2013 vs. 25 days in February 2012).

Sales Outlook
The outlook for 2013 continues to improve, as the selling pace remains robust.
In fact, LMC Automotive is increasing its 2013 U.S. forecast for total
light-vehicle sales to 15.3 million units from 15.1 million units. The
increase is split between fleet and retail light-vehicle sales, with the
outlook for retail increasing to 12.5 million units from 12.4 million units.

"The current fundamentals that are driving strong vehicle sales—pent-up
vehicle demand and a stable, recovering economy—are expected to get a boost by
additional positive factors this year," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice
president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. "An expected recovery in the
housing market, and 50 percent more new-model launches combined with an
increase in lease maturities should keep light-vehicle sales climbing
throughout the year."

North American Production
North American light-vehicle production in January 2013 finished at more than
1.3 million units, seven percent higher than in January 2012.Production in
Mexico has increased by nearly 21 percent from January 2012 on higher General
Motors, Ford, and Volkswagen volumes related to newer launches. U.S. vehicle
production has grown by nine percent from January 2012, while Canadian
production has declined by 13 percent during the same period.

Vehicle inventory levels in early February increase to a 74-day supply,
compared with 59 days in January. A higher level is typical in February.
However, at the current selling rate, inventory levels are expected to
rebalance within the next month or two. Overall, there are nearly 3.1 million
units currently available on dealer lots or in transit—an increase of
approximately 600,000 units from February 2012.

LMC Automotive's forecast for North American production remains at 15.9
million units for this year, a three percent increase from 2012.

"The current inventory situation and production plan for 2013 suggests that
there is enough volume to support the expected increased level of demand, and
there remains little risk for an overbuild environment," said Schuster.

About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a
global marketing information services company providing forecasting,
performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and
solutions. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on
responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car
reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and
more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit
of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies
The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), a financial intelligence and education
company, signed an agreement to sell its McGraw-Hill Education business to
investment funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC in November
2012. Following the sale closing, expected in early 2013, the Company will be
renamed McGraw Hill Financial (subject to shareholder approval) and will be a
powerhouse in benchmarks, content and analytics for the global capital and
commodity markets. The Company's leading brands will include: Standard &
Poor's, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, Crisil, J.D. Power and
Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Company will have
approximately 17,000 employees in more than 30 countries. Additional
information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.

About LMC Automotive
LMC Automotive, formerly J.D. Power Automotive Forecasting, is the premier
supplier of automotive forecasts and intelligence to an extensive client base
of automotive manufacturer, component supplier, logistics and distribution
companies, as well as financial and government institutions around the world.
LMC's global forecasting services encompass automotive sales, production and
powertrain expertise, as well as advisory capability. LMC Automotive has
offices in the United States, the UK, Germany, China and Thailand and is part
of the Oxford, UK-based LMC group, the global leader in economic and business
consultancy for the agribusiness sector. For more information please visit
www.lmc-auto.com.

Media Relations Contacts
John Tews; Troy, Mich.; (248) 680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com
Emmie Littlejohn; LMC Automotive; Troy, Mich.; (248) 817-2100;
elittlejohn@lmc-auto.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this
release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates
or LMC Automotive. www.jdpower.com/corporate www.lmc-auto.com

SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates

Website: http://www.jdpower.com
Website: http://www.lmc-auto.com
 
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