New-Car Sales to Top 8% in February 2015


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New-vehicle sales are expected to increase 8 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.29 million units in February 2015, resulting in an estimated 16.6 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com, the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry.

“While consumer confidence fell month-over-month in February, it still remains high from last year," said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  "Along with an unemployment rate that continues to drop and low interest rates, most signs remain very positive in the automotive market.  In fact, February marks 12 straight months of industry growth."

Moving into the coming months, the rate of sales growth should slow down considerably.  Total sales in 2015 are projected to hit 16.9 million units overall, a 2.5 percent year-over-year increase and the highest overall total since 2005 sales fell just below 17 million units total.

Key Highlights for Estimated February 2015 Sales Forecast:

In February, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to reach 1,286,000 units, up 8 percent from February 2014 and up 11.9 percent from January 2015.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for February 2015 is estimated to be 16.6 million, up from 15.3 million in February 2014 and flat compared to January 2015.

Retail sales are expected to account for 80 percent of volume in February 2015, up from 79 percent in February 2014.

Toyota Motor Company to Report Largest Gains with Help from its Best-Selling Corolla

Toyota Motor Company is expected to report the largest percentage growth of all major automakers at 13 percent, helped by the Corolla, which was the best-selling car in the country last month for the first time in three years, narrowly followed by the Toyota Camry.

"With gas prices rising 30 cents in February, Kelley Blue Book anticipates more consumers to shift toward brands like Toyota and their lineup of fuel-efficient cars and small utilities like its RAV4," said Tim Fleming, analyst at Kelley Blue Book.  "Similar to Toyota, American Honda will have a great month with projected double-digit growth for February.  Large gains should be seen in the small CR-V utility vehicle, which has been Honda's best-seller during the past four months."

Full-Size Pickup Trucks Continue Strong Run Despite Rising Gas Prices

Even with gas prices on the rise in February, full-size pickup trucks continue their strong run, led by the all-new Ford F-Series.  However, as Ford continues to build inventory toward the right trim mix of its new pickup, the industry should see strong pushes from General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to make the most of the current market opportunity.

Apart from pickups, compact and mid-size crossovers will drive much of the industry's growth, with both segments expected to climb by double-digit percentages.  For the compact utilities, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 are driving the biggest volume growth, while the Jeep Cherokee and Subaru Outback are the fastest growing in the mid-size utility segment.

There are 24 sales days in February 2015, compared to 24 sales days in February 2014.  All percentages are based on raw volume, not daily selling rate.

To discuss this topic, or any other automotive-related information, with a Kelley Blue Book analyst on-camera via the company's on-site studio, please contact a member of the Public Relations team to book an interview.

About Kelley Blue Book

Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry.  Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new and used cars this week.  The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies.  Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com ranked highest in its category for brand equity by the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study and has been named Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year for three consecutive years.  Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. is a Cox Automotive company. www.kbb.com

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