Counting Cars

February Sales Thread: U.S. LV SAAR Rises to 15.3 Million

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Strong sales from late reporters helped lift the February seasonally adjusted annual sales rate for U.S. light vehicles past  15.33 million units, up from January's 15.22 million SAAR.

February 2013 Light Vehicle Sales Volume:
WardsAuto forecast: 1.192 million units
Actual February sales: 1.188 million units
Differential between forecast and actual: 0.4%.

February 2013 Light Vehicle SAAR:
WardsAuto forecast: 15.38 million
Actual February SAAR: 15.33 million

WardsAuto tracks sales throught the day. Year-over-year change represents the change in daily sales rate (DSR). February had 24 selling days this year, and 25 last year.

3:00 PM: An ausipicious beginning: Feb daily sales up 8.1% over year-ago, Year-to-date volume up 8.4%, on 2.22 million light vehicle deliveries through first two months. Detroit 3 auto makers, up 11.8% YTD, lead the way. (Suzuki still estimated.)

2:00 PM: Strong sales from late reporters helped rebound the projected U.S. LV SAAR for February to 15.32 million units, just shy of forecast levels, with only Suzuki still to report.

Daimler daily sales, in excess of 24,000 deliveries, were up 27%, in line with expectations. With only

1:45 PM:  A slew of companies coming in at once. Asia auto makers a mixed bag. Honda and Kia come in at expectations, with Honda DSR up a very modest 2.1%, good for roughly 108K LVs, while Kia daily sales dropped 4%, dropping volume sales to 41,505 from 45,038 last year. Mazda and Mitsubishi both beat expectation, with Mazda increasing its DSR 1.3% and Mitsubishi lifting its daily rate 33.1% (albeit on total sales just over 6,000 units).

Hyundai hover, came in well above forecast, with 52,311 deliveries, lifting its DSR 6.5%, and giving it its strongest sales volume for February to date.

BMW joined fellow European auto makers with a strong sales month, delivering 25,613  BMW and Mini vehicles, a better-than-expected 1.9% DSR gain.

12:30 PM: Sales tricking in. Nissan reported just under 100K LV sales, for a 2.8%, decline in daily sales, in line with earlier WardsAuto forecast. Subaru, meanwhile, continues strong monthly reports, with a 15.6% rise in DSR on 28,163 units.

Smaller European luxury marques, including Porsche (+36%) and Jaguar Land Rover (+23.1%), reporting strong sales.

So far, reporting auto makers have fallen slightly below expectations. Without Honda or Hyundai/Kia coming in well over forecast levels, the LV SAAR will like fall close to 15 million units for the month.

10:30 AM:Detroit 3 are all in. Ford daily sales rate rose 13.3% over year-ago, on 191,557 light vehicles. General Motors DSR was also up double-digits, 11.6% higher than Feb 2012, with sales of 224,314. Chrysler lagged on year-over-year growth, but had a strong month, with daily sales rising 8.6% on 138,270 light vehicle deliveries. 

Collectively, the Detroit auto makers recorded an 11.4% increase over year daily sales. 

Toyota, meanwhile, reported an 8.7% rise over a reasonably strong year-ago finish, with LV sales of 166,377.

And the first European companies to report - Volkswagen (+7.2%) and Audi (+32.8%) - came in directly in line with WardsAuto expectations, selling 42,333 units for the month.

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Contributors

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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