New-Car Sales Expected To Stay On Course Despite Expired Payroll Tax Holiday

 New-Car Sales Expected To Stay On Course Despite Expired Payroll Tax Holiday

Kelley Blue Book Analysts Predict 15.3 Million SAAR, Especially Strong Month
for Pickup-Truck Sales

PR Newswire

IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 26, 2013

IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --For the month of February 2013,
analysts predict new-car sales will maintain the momentum from the previous
three months and hit 15.3 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), a
3.4 percent year-over-year improvement, according to Kelley Blue Book
www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new and used car information. Although
shy of the 14 percent annual gain the auto industry experienced in January,
sales should improve more than 7 percent after adjusting for the number of
selling days in February.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121108/LA08161LOGO)

"Similar to previous months, consumers will be lured to dealer showrooms by
low finance rates, affordable lease payments, and most importantly, new and
compelling product," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive
insights for Kelley Blue Book. "As of February 1, approximately 80 percent of
new vehicles available for sale were model-year 2013, so consumers should have
no problem locating a newly redesigned 2013 Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan
Altima or Chevrolet Malibu."

Although sales are expected to maintain a steady course in February, a recent
Quick Poll among in-market car shoppers conducted by Kelley Blue Book's Market
Intelligence team indicates that many consumers are beginning to feel the
pinch from the expiration of the 2 percent payroll tax holiday. When asked if
the increase in the payroll tax impacted their new-vehicle purchase timeline,
39 percent indicated that they planned to delay their purchase, 28 percent
responded that the tax increase didn't impact their purchase timeline in any
way, while 27 percent indicated that they would reduce the amount they planned
to spend on their next purchase. Although Kelley Blue Book analysts have yet
to detect a measurable slowdown in new-vehicle sales, they will keep an eye on
the data in the weeks to come.

Manufacturers to Have Moderate Sales Gains in February
With sales expected to improve only 3 percent in February, gains for most
manufacturers are expected to remain relatively modest overall. Volkswagen is
expected to post the best year-over-year improvement, thanks to strong sales
from the Jetta and Passat. Toyota is expected to improve 7.8 percent in
February, led by sales of the Camry, Corolla and Prius.

"With gas prices now approaching $3.75 per gallon nationally, Kelley Blue Book
anticipates strong demand for fuel-efficient vehicles in February," said
Gutierrez. "Toyota's focus on fuel efficiency across its entire model lineup
should help the brand's sales performance, both in February and in the months
to come."

Kelley Blue Book: Volkswagen and Toyota to Lead Modest
Year-Over-Year Gains
                                 Sales Volume              Market Share
Manufacturer                     Feb-13    Feb-12    YOY%  Feb-13 Feb-12 YOY
General Motors                   218,000   209,306   4.2%  18.4%  18.2%  0.2%
Ford Motor Company               192,000   178,644   7.5%  16.2%  15.5%  0.7%
Toyota Motor Company             172,000   159,423   7.9%  14.5%  13.9%  0.6%
Chrysler Group                   139,000   133,521   4.1%  11.7%  11.6%  0.1%
American Honda                   110,000   110,157   -0.1% 9.3%   9.6%   -0.3%
Hyundai-Kia                      94,000    96,189    -2.3% 7.9%   8.4%   -0.5%
Nissan North America             102,000   106,731   -4.4% 8.6%   9.3%   -0.7%
Volkswagen                       44,500    39,234    13.4% 3.7%   3.4%   0.3%
Total*                           1,188,000 1,149,432 3.4%  -      -      -
*Includes brands not shown

Source: Kelley Blue Book
Automotive Insights and

historical data pulled from OEM
sales announcements

Pickup Trucks to Lead Gains in February
Full-size pickup truck sales should be especially strong this month, due to
generous cash rebates and ample inventory for all segment competitors.
Consumers will find as much as $5,000 in cash rebates on the Ford F-Series,
Chevrolet Silverado and Ram pickups because of a more than 100 days supply of
inventory for each. Shoppers looking for a Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra
likely will find the most compelling offers as General Motors tries to
liquidate remaining inventory in anticipation of the arrival of its next
generation of pickups in the second quarter of this year. Further helping
sales of pickup trucks has been the steady rise in housing starts. Sales of
pickup trucks benefit from a strong housing market, so as the housing market
continues to improve, Kelley Blue Book expects sales of pickup trucks to
follow suit.

Kelley Blue Book: Cash Rebates to Help Drive Sales
of Pickups
                                Sales Volume               Market Share
Segment                         Feb-13     Feb-12    YOY%  Feb-13 Feb-12 YOY
Mid-Size Car                    213,000    210,282   1.3%  18.0%  18.3%  -0.3%
Compact Car                     185,000    178,390   3.7%  15.6%  15.5%  0.1%
Compact Crossover               135,000    127,905   5.5%  11.4%  11.1%  0.3%
Full-Size Pickup Truck          136,000    123,319   10.3% 11.5%  10.7%  0.7%
Subcompact Car                  58,000     56,176    3.2%  4.9%   4.9%   0.0%
Total*                          1,188,000  1,149,432 3.4%  -      -      -
*Includes segments not shown

Source: Kelley Blue Book
Automotive Insights and
historical

data pulled from OEM sales
announcements

For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com, visit
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About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle
valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and
the industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective
values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com, including its
famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Suggested Retail Values and Fair Purchase
Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week. The
company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and
services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance
companies as well as governmental agencies. KBB.com provides consumer pricing
and information on cars for sale, minivans, pickup trucks, sedan, hybrids,
electric cars, and SUVs. Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. is a wholly owned
subsidiary of AutoTrader Group.

SOURCE Kelley Blue Book

Website: http://www.kbb.com
Contact: Joanna Pinkham, +1-949-268-3079, jpinkham@kbb.com; Brenna Robinson,
+1-949-267-4781, berobinson@kbb.com; Natalie Kumaratne, +1-949-267-4770,
nkumaratne@kbb.com
 
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