April U.S. auto sales poised to rise on improving inventory levels

According to a joint auto sales forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, total new-vehicle sales, including retail and non-retail transactions, are expected to hit 1,316,500 units in April, representing a 9.8% increase from April 2022. When adjusted for the number of selling days, sales volume will increase 5.7% year-over-year.

New-vehicle retail sales for April are anticipated to reach 1,087,400 units, a 5.9% jump from April of 2022. When comparing sales volume without adjusting for the number of selling days, the increase from 2022 is 2.0%.

Despite robust auto sales, new-vehicle supply closed March at its highest level in two years, but it might not be enough to bring prices down. vAuto inventory data revealed that the available new-vehicle supply volume at the beginning of April was 70% higher than last year. The days’ supply has remained at the mid-50-day level, nearly 60% higher than last year.

According to Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power:

“With the significant improvement in overall new-vehicle availability from a year ago, dealer margins are declining and manufacturer incentive spending is increasing. Nevertheless, the demand for vehicles in the retail market remains strong due to pent-up demand from pandemic-related production shortages. Overall, the retail sales pace continues to be supply constrained. Therefore, pricing and profitability remain well above historical levels.”

In April 2023, the average new-vehicle retail transaction price is projected to increase by 2.0% from April 2022, reaching $46,044. December 2022 holds the previous record for any month, with $47,362. Additionally, incentive spending per unit is expected to increase to $1,559 in April 2023, up from $1,007 in April 2022.

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