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February Car Sales Expected To Hit 15-Year High

February Car Sales Expected To Hit 15-Year High
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The automakers are expected to report strong February sales when they announce their monthly vehicle sales numbers on March 1.

A WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to deliver 1.34 million light vehicles in February, a 15-year high for the month. The forecasted daily sales rate of 55,868 over 24 days represents a 7.1 percent growth from like-2015 (also 24 days). The report puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of sales for the month at 17.50 million units versus year-ago's 16.32 million and January's 17.45 million mark.

Meanwhile, another forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive calls for 8.1 percent growth in new-vehicle sales in February 2016. New-vehicle retail sales in February are estimated to reach 1,046,700 units from 968,316 in February 2015, with the same number of selling days (24 days).

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The seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for retail sales in February 2016 is expected to reach 13.9 million units, up significantly from 12.8 million units in February 2015 and the strongest retail SAAR in the month of February since 2002 (14.7 million).

Total light-vehicle sales are expected to reach 1,357,800, up from 1,255,769 from a year ago.

The SAAR for total sales is projected to reach 17.7 million units in February 2016, up 1.4 million units from 16.4 million a year ago and the highest rate since 2000 (18.9 million).

J.D. Power report said most of the increase would come from compact cars whose demand is driven, in part, via high incentives that are offered on outgoing vehicles ahead of the launch of the redesigned vehicle that attract the budget-conscious.

However, the report said the improvement in compact car sales is not enough to offset weakening demand for cars overall, with market share for cars at only 42 percent, the lowest level on record for the month of February.

J.D. Power report added that consumers are on track to spend more than $32 billion on new vehicles in February, nearly $3 billion more than in February 2015 and for the first time exceeding $30 billion in the month of February.

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