April New Car Sales Forecast Calls for Record-Setting Annual Rate

Total new car sales for the month of April are expected to reach 1.51 million units sold, the highest April total ever according to analysts at Kelley Blue Book (KBB). Volume is forecast to be around 4% above the April 2015 total.

On a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) basis, April sales are  expected to post a total of 17.5, sharply higher than the March SAAR of 16.5 million. Analysts at WardsAuto have projected an April SAAR of 17.6 million. Edmunds has a significantly more cautious April SAAR of 14.4 million light vehicles.

KBB analyst Tim Fleming said:

Increased fleet sales and rising incentive spending among automakers remain the factors to watch, but retail demand appears to be holding steady, signaling the industry’s strong run isn’t over quite yet.

Analysts at TrueCar Inc. (NASDAQ: TRUE) forecast average incentive spending per vehicle rose 13.3% year over year in April to $3,021.

Analysts at KBB expect Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) to post a year-over-year sales gain of 6.5% and a year-over-year market share increase of 0.4%. Ford is expected to sell 236,000 units in April.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) is expected to post a sales decline of 3% year over year to 261,000 units in April. GM’s market share for March will slip from 18.5% a year ago to 17.3%.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Inc. (NYSE: FCAU) is forecast to sell 201,000 units in April, up 6.3% year over year. The smallest of the Detroit Three is also expected to post a market share gain of 0.3 points, rising to 13.3% of the U.S. market in April

KBB forecasts Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) sales to rise 3.8% year over year in April and Toyota’s market share is expected to remain flat at 14%.

The month’s big winner, though, is expected to be Japan’s Nissan. Sales are forecast to rise by 11.1% in April to 122,000 units, for a market share gain of 0.5 points to 8.1%.