How about that March surge in U.S. light-vehicle sales? Well, it was even better than it looked. That’s because the 6% gain compared with March 2013 all came at the last minute and was all retail, which means these are satisfying times for most dealers.
Automotive News reported that retail sales rose 7% to overcome a 1% decline in fleet volume. And after starting almost as cold as January and February, March’s sales pace accelerated in the final two weeks to finish at a seasonally adjusted annual selling rate of 16.4 million, the second highest monthly SAAR since 2007.
Analyst Richard Kwas of Wells Fargo sees potential for SAARs of 17 million or higher in April, May and June.
“The industry needs to see continued momentum,” he said. “But March represents a good start to the spring selling season.”
Bill Fay, general manager of Toyota Division, said he expects April to build on the momentum of the last two weeks of March.
“We’re looking to capture delayed purchases from the last couple of months,” he said.
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