Counting Cars

April 2014 Sales Thread (UPDATE): SAAR Hits 16 Million for Second Month

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Later reporting companies lift final SAAR to 16 million.

April 2014 Light Vehicle Sales Volume:
WardsAuto forecast LV Sales:    1.39 million units
Actual April LV Sales:                1.38 million units

0.5% difference

March 2014 Light Vehicle SAAR:
WardsAuto forecast LV SAAR: 16.1 million
Projected Actual LV SAAR:      16.0 million
 

UPDATE: Earlier posts reflected Nissan Div. totals without Infiniti brand. Nissan - including both brands - finished the month with 103,934 deliveries, equating to a 13.8% improvement on a daily sales basis.

WardsAuto tracks light vehicle (LV) sales throughout each sales reporting day. Monthly year-over-year change represents the change in daily sales rate (DSR). April had 26 selling days this year and 25 in 2013. The extra day means change in DSR will be lower than reported change in sales volumes this month.  

Check back throughout sales reporting day for updated  company results throughout sales reporting day.

SUMMARY: WardsAuto forecast April U.S. LV Sales would reach a 16.1 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), (comparable to March's seven-year best 16.3 million SAAR) based on strong retail demand and consumer confidence, some pentup winter demand, solid springtime job reports, and large inventories across the industry.
April's sales finished just below projections, with a final LV SAAR of 15.98 million.  

Asian automakers, led by Toyota (+17%) and SUbaru (+41%) led the industry with a collective 5.2% gain in daily sales, compared with the Detroit 3's 1.9% gain, and European automakers' 0.1% decline in DSR.

GM grabbed an 18.4% share of April sales, even with year-ago, followed by Ford , with 14.9% of sales, down from 16.2% in April 2013, and Toyota, which grabbed 14.4% of the market versus 13.7% last year.

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2:50 PM: Honda reported sales in line with WardsAuto projections, delivering 132,456 LVs in April, a 2.8% decline in daily sales, slightly lower than the automaker's YTD decline of 2.3%.

2:15 PM: Collectively, European automaker daily sales were flat compared with year-ago. Daimler was one of the few European automakers to outperform expectations, and one of only three to outpace year-ago, selling 29,592 of its Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Sprinter, and Mitsu-Fuso light vehicles in April - a 7.8% gain in daily sales that compares well with the company's YTD gain of 7.3% through four months. Volvo daily sales were down 0.2%.

1:00: Mazda reported an 8.4% gain in daily sales. Jaguar Land Rover sales were up 14.3% on 5,568 deliveries.

12:40 PM: With the exception of Audi, April is shaping up to be a disappointing month for German automakers in the U.S. BMW joined Porsche and VW in reporting a year-over-year drop in daily sales. The combined DSR for BMW and Mini brands was 2.9% below year-ago, on total deliveries of under 30,000 units. To-date sales of BMW are up 2.5% over like-2013.

12:15 PM: VW's poor April showing was offset somewhat by sister company Audi's strong performance. The luxury brand sold 15,653 units - a 14.4% DSR jump nearly twice as large as its four-month YTD gain on year ago. Porsche daily sales were down 2.9% in April, rounding out the Volkswagen-related automakers.

11:50 AM: Volkswagen brand is the month's first big disappointment, with sales well below forecast levels. VW's 30,831 deliveries equate to an 11.9% decline in daily sales vs same-month 2013 and brings the company's year-to-date total 10.4% below year-ago. Golf sales were off 33.7%; Beetle sales were down nearly 31%, and the brand's biggest seller, Passat, was 1.2% off April 2013's pace.

11:30 AM: Toyota announced total LV deliveries of 199,660 units - a 9% gain in DSR that represents the No. 3 U.S. automaker's biggest year-over-year increase since August, and significantly ahead of its year-to-date growth of just 2.1%.

11:00 AM: Subaru posted a 17% jump in daily sales, in line with forecast but below the automaker's 4-month volume gain of 21.5%. If, as expected, Subaru outsells Volkswagen in April, it will be the 11th time in the past 12 months they've done so. Subaru bested VW on once in the previous 24-months.

10:30 AM: Detroit 3 automakers saw a collective 1.9% rise in daily sales versus year-ago, but the gains were far from evenly distributed.

Chrysler Fiat, logged a 9.2% improvement over year-ago DSR, with 176,703 LV deliveries. The April result left CF's year-to-date gains in double digits, running 11.7% over year-ago.

General Motors reported sales directly in line with WardsAuto's aggressive expecatations for the automaker, delivering over 254,076 LVs - for a 2.8% lift in daily sales, and a projected market share of over 18% for the month. GM's YTD sales are almost dead even with same-period year-ago.

Ford moved  more than 206,000 cars and light trucks in April - a 4.6% decline from year-ago. Ford's weakened sales are due in part to low industry fleet orders, primarily from rental companies, but the company's year-over year volume declines in April on its entire Ford Brand passenger car lineup, and the company's 2.8% year-to-date decline on LV sales is worrisome.

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John Sousanis

John Sousanis oversees WardsAuto data operations as Director of Information Content, and is Ward’sAuto sales analyst. Follow John on Twitter @CountingCars.  

Haig Stoddard

Haig Stoddard is a veteran automotive industry analyst. His current focus is North America production and longterm sales forecasting.
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