SOURCE: TrueCar

TrueCar

March 23, 2010 08:58 ET

TrueCar Forecasts March Auto Sales and Incentives Spending

Race for the Top Becomes Interesting as Toyota Makes Strong Return

SANTA MONICA, CA--(Marketwire - March 23, 2010) -  TrueCar.com (www.truecar.com), the authority on new car pricing, forecasted today that March 2010 light vehicle sales (including fleet) in the U.S. is expected to be 1,021,465 units, a jump of nearly 31% from February 2010 and more than 19% from this time last year (on an unadjusted basis). March's forecast translates into a SAAR level of 11.3 million new car sales.

According to the experts at TrueCar.com, industry average incentive spending per unit will be approximately $2,800 in March, up 3.2% from February 2010 but down 9.7% from this time last year.

TrueCar.com is reporting the following about incentive spending in February:

  • Toyota experienced the biggest year-over-year increase with 46.7%.
  • Automotive manufacturers spent nearly $2.9 billion in various incentive programs in March.
  • GM topped the highest spenders list with an estimated $594 million.

Toyota's generous incentive program accomplished its mission with the automaker experiencing a 70% increase in unit sales from February. Additionally, a surge across the board in sales from luxury brands, like BMW (33%), Mercedes Benz (34%), Jaguar (57%), Land Rover (29%), Porsche (32%) and Lexus (28%), seems to indicate a willingness to not just buy, but spend money.

"The growth in luxury market share tells us that consumers are starting to feel some confidence in the potential economic recovery," said Jesse Toprak, VP of Industry Trends and Insight for TrueCar.com. "Ford, GM, and Toyota are all within the margin of error to grab the top spot for sales in March. We expect a photo-finish for much of the rest of the year."

TrueCar.com offers a comprehensive forecast that also goes deeper into the numbers, looking at unit sales and market share by manufacturer, but also shows market share by origin and sales down to the brand level. Incentive spending is also available at brand and origin levels upon request. 

Forecasts for the top seven manufacturers for March:

Unit Sales Forecast

Manufacturer March 2010 Forecast Change vs. Feb. 2010 Change vs. Mar. 2009
Chrysler 97,930 16.0% -3.0%
Ford 173,141 26.0% 38.8%
GM 177,404 25.7% 15.8%
Honda 105,981 31.4% 19.9%
Nissan 83,396 18.8% 25.2%
Toyota 170,552 70.5% 28.4%
Hyundai/Kia 74,981 29.2% 14.6%

Market Share Forecast

Manufacturer March 2010 Forecast February 2010 March 2009
Chrysler 8.1% 10.8% 11.8%
Ford 17.2% 17.6% 14.6%
GM 17.7% 18.1% 17.9%
Honda 11.0% 10.3% 10.3%
Nissan 7.2% 9.0% 7.8%
Toyota 18.0% 12.8% 15.5%
Hyundai/Kia 7.8% 7.4% 7.6%

Incentive Spending Forecast

Manufacturer March 2010 Incentives Change vs. Feb. 2010 Change vs. Mar. 2009 Total Incentive Spending
Chrysler $3,491 -1.9% -24.4% $341,827,366
Ford $2,826 0.4% -9.2% $489,219,036
GM $3,351 0.1% -14.8% $594,441,713
Honda $1,929 6.2% 8.3% $204,432,606
Nissan $2,993 -1.8% 12.2% $249,591,165
Toyota $2,318 32.7% 46.7% $395,345,790
Hyundai/Kia $2,440 12.7% -38.2% $182,986,602
Industry $2,800 3.2% -9.7% $2,860,184,659

TrueCar also projects sales down to the brand level, which can be viewed in its entirety at the Truth Blog on TrueCar.com.

TrueCar.com bases its forecast on actual transaction data that cover nearly half of all new car sales in the U.S. The transaction data based forecast is refined by other current and historical factors that impact vehicle sales including: sales, inventory, incentives, fuel prices, and macro economic data (major stock market indexes, consumer confidence, new home starts, and CPI). TrueCar.com does not adjust for selling days in year-over-year percentage change calculations.

About TrueCar
TrueCar (http://www.truecar.com/) is the authority in new car prices. TrueCar analyzes data from thousands of sources to show car buyers and car dealers how much people actually paid for a particular car in a specific local area. The innovative new car pricing service is offered online, free of charge at TrueCar.com. With TrueCar pricing, both new car buyers and new car dealers can know at any time what is considered a good or great price on a new car. Consumers no longer need to walk into a dealership partially informed and fully suspicious -- using TrueCar they walk in knowing the price of a fair deal. Dealers benefit by TrueCar's real-time, unbiased information about marketplace pricing, helping them price cars for increased sales, and ultimately gaining market share over other dealers. Led by a highly experienced team from the automotive and technology industries, TrueCar is based in Santa Monica, California.

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