The seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for total light vehicle sales is projected to hit 16.4 million units in March, a 53% year-over-year increase and a 10% increase from February, according to a TrueCar forecast released today. Vehicle sales plummeted last March when the coronavirus pandemic closed dealerships and forced many consumers to shelter-in-place.
Average transaction prices are also expected to continue to increase 6.6% YoY, or $2,366. Average loan terms, however, decreased to 70 months, down from 72 months a year ago.
“The pandemic’s dramatic impact on the automotive industry and U.S. economy at large began in the last two weeks of March 2020 when dealerships and OEM plants shut down and stay-at-home mandates rolled out, which gives us our first year-over-year sales compare,” said Nick Woolard, lead industry analyst at TrueCar, in a statement. Stimulus payments and tax refunds are expected to buoy consumer demand, but manufacturing headwinds could further squeeze supply.
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