Analysts see US Feb auto sales above 15m annual rate

22 February 2013 20:53  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Both LMC Automotive and issued February US auto sales forecasts Friday that put the industry above 15m annual units.

Based on sales over the first 14 days of the month, LMC Automotive, the forecasting partner of JD Power and Associates, projected a seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate of 15.2m light vehicles for February. The firm also raised its estimate for full-year sales by 200,000 units to 15.3m.

Jeff Schuster, LMC’s top auto forecaster, said fundamentals such as an expected uptick in the US housing market, new model launches and more vehicles coming off lease were pushing sales higher.

Edmunds also released its February estimate of 15.5m vehicles on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis.

“Car sales are persevering despite economic factors on people’s minds like rising gas prices and the implementation of the payroll tax,” said Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell. She also cited pent-up demand and available credit as other positive factors boosting US auto sales.

US auto sales grew 13% year on year in 2012 to 14.5m units. US auto sales were up 39.4% in 2012 from an industry low of 10.4m units in 2009.

If the February projections are accurate, it would mark the fourth straight month that US auto sales have been above 15m annualized units, the longest streak in five years.

Automakers plan to release February sales results on 1 March 2013.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) estimates that each automobile contains an average of $3,297 (€2,506) worth of chemicals, such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), nylon, polycarbonate (PC) and others.

($1 = €0.76)

Reporting by Mark Yost

Author: ICIS staff

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