April sales reports should be coming out in a few hours, but the wizards of Wall Street and elsewhere have already placed their bets and made their predictions.
One of the things that has changed in the April forecasts compared to previous monthly estimates is a general consensus that the torrid seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) seen earlier this year, especially in February, was a blip, not a trend. SAAR estimates this month are more restrained: Jeff Schuster of LMC Automotive says the SAAR won’t even break 14 million. Most other analysts are looking on the low-to-mid 14 million range. That’s still an improvement, but fewer people are looking for a 15-million-sale year. That probably won’t happen until there is a solid and prolonged uptick in hiring.
Gas prices are still a hot topic even though they have been declining recently. The problem is that gas wasn’t that much cheaper last year, so the perception of high prices persists.
Honda is the one to watch this month. The second-largest Japanese automaker has mostly recovered from last year’s natural disasters in Japan and Thailand and is getting very aggressive about reclaiming lost market share. In addition to a high-visibility marketing campaign, Honda has really ramped up incentives. According to estimates from TrueCar.com, Honda increased its April incentives by eight percent over March of this year, more than any other manufacturer.
Everyone is looking for the pace of Chrysler’s sales growth to slow a bit. The smallest of the Detroit automakers has posted five months of 30-plus-percent gains; the analysts are looking for an improvement under 20 percent in April. That would still make 25 months of year-over-year sales increases.
|BLOOMBERG ANALYST POLL|
|Patrick Archambault||Goldman Sachs||-7.10%||-6.80%||NA||14.2|
|Chris Ceraso||Credit Suisse||-12%||0.40%||15%||14.3|
|Alec Gutierrez||Kelley Blue Book||-15%||-5.40%||14%||14.0|
|Brian Johnson||Barclays Capital||-8.80%||-8.40%||NA||14.2|
|Rod Lache||Deutsche Bank||-6.00%||-12%||16%||14.2|
|SAAR Forecasts Only|
|Alan Baum||Baum & Associates||NA||NA||NA||14.5|
|Adam Jonas||Morgan Stanley||NA||NA||NA||14.4|
|George Magliano||HIS Automotive||NA||NA||NA||14.2|
|Jeff Schuster||LMC Automotive||NA||NA||NA||13.8|
Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds.com and Jesse Toprak of TrueCar.com both have more in-depth forecasts and it’s interesting to see the contrasts between the two in their April predictions. Caldwell and Toprak both have Honda outselling Nissan this month but Toprak also sees Toyota bumping Ford out of second place for the first time in almost a year.
|EDMUNDS.COM SALES VOLUME FORECAST|
|EDMUNDS.COM MARKET SHARE FORECAST|
|TRUECAR.COM SALES VOLUME FOREAST|
|TRUECAR.COM MARKET SHARE FORECAST|