March new vehicle retail sales are expected to be 2 percent lower than a year ago when calculated on a selling-day-adjusted basis, the first time there has been a year-over-year decline in sales since August 2010, according to a forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. Yet one LMC official said auto sales are not peaking and the outlook for the year remains robust, even with some “retail softness and noise” in March.
Yet when measured by total sales, things look better according to Kelley Blue Book. It projects new vehicle sales will increase by 8 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.66 million units in March. “The industry continues to maintain its momentum in March as we expect the highest volume of any month in more than 10 years,” said Tim Fleming, a Blue Book analyst. “However, we continue to follow indicators that demand for new cars is weakening, while there is increased incentive spending and an increasing share of fleet sales.” Incentive spending in the full size truck market topped $4,000 average per unit year-to-date, and KBB said that is “a number that we are watching this year.”
We will get the official word on sales in early April.
Automotive News Europe reports that Porsche will unveil a lighter and more frugal Panamera at this year’s Paris Auto Show. It will use a lighter platform that could also find its way to models from Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini. ANE said the lighter Panamera may arrive here in the U.S. in 2017.