U.S. auto makers should enjoy their best April on a daily basis since 2007, delivering 1.18 million vehicles over 24 selling days, according to a WardsAuto forecast.
The projected volume would equate to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14.4 million units, slightly more than last month’s 14.3 million SAAR but less than the overall first-quarter’s 14.5 million.
The forecast daily selling rate of 49,200 light vehicles for April is a 15% improvement on year-ago, which had 27 selling days including May 2.
It also represents a 1.6% decline from the March DSR, established over 28 selling days including April 2. But that is significantly better than the historical March-to-April trend, which has averaged an 8% decrease in recent years.
WardsAuto looks for most auto makers to track close to their own seasonal histories in April, but four companies likely will play large roles in pushing the industry ahead of the trend line.
16.5% U.S. LV market share in March was its lowest penetration for any month since at least 1935. The auto maker has increased its incentive spending considerably, and WardsAuto looks for GM to improve its share of deliveries nearly two full points to 18.4% in April.
’s results also were disappointing in March, accounting for 9.1% of sales, dropping it into the No.7 spot among the top best-selling U.S. auto makers that includes a combined -Kia. The Japanese auto maker blamed its poor showing on low inventories but says it is confident the problem will be addressed in April.
Ifhas enough of the right vehicles on hand, it should see a significant gain on prior month. WardsAuto sees the auto maker jumping to the No.5 spot, with a 10% share on roughly 118,000 units.
Two March winners should also buck the month-to-month trend and help boost the overall industry results.
, which garnered a 14.5% share of last month’s sales, continues to build cars at a breakneck pace in North America, boosting inventory in an effort to pump up deliveries.
WardsAuto looks forto capture 15.1% of April LV sales, marking the company’s highest share since December 2010 and pushing it ahead of , which is projected to account for 14.7%, for the first time in 21 months.
’s March share was its second-best ever and it is expected to have a good April as well, at least against trend. Nissan regularly sees March-April declines of nearly 30%, but WardsAuto is forecasting daily sales will fall only 20% this month thanks to strong fleet demand.
Despite gasoline prices declining slightly in recent weeks, midsize cars should outsell cross/utility vehicles again this month. There also is a slight chance that small cars, led by the Honda Civic, could push CUVs into the No.3 segment position for the first time since the government’s “Cash-for-Clunkers” incentive program in August 2009.
At forecast levels, April deliveries would bring year-to-date LV sales to 4.64 million units, up 10.3% compared with like-2011.