The latest monthly sales forecast by J.D. Power and Associates' Power Information Network and LMC Automotive indicates that new vehicle sales will remain strong through the end of March. The groups predict that both the light vehicle retail selling rate and the total light vehicle rate will remain on par with February's performance of 12.1 million units and 15.3 million units, respectively.
According to the report, new vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at 1,158,000 vehicles at the end of March, translating to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 12.1 million units.
"While longer loan terms have traditionally been a cause for concern to the industry due to the risk of purchase cycle extension, it is not necessarily as daunting as it may seem." said John Humphrey , senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "The longer loans are being offset by more leasing and the low interest environment, which means that consumers are able to put more of their monthly payment towards their loan principal rather than interest fees."
As for the rest of 2012, LMC Automotive expects that sales will remain similar to the strong pace set in the first quarter. The group believes total light vehicle sales will end the year at 15.3 million units and retail light vehicles sales will come in at 12.5 million units.
Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive said that based on current performance, he expects the economic environment to improve throughout 2013, as growth in auto sales is already outpacing initial expectations.
Top 10 cars for under $10,000
Those looking for a used car would benefit from taking a gander at Cars.com's list of the top 10 cars for under $10,000.
"Although the price gap between new and used cars has decreased, many shoppers are still going the used route," said Patrick Olsen, Cars.com's editor-in-chief. "We took a look at cars from 2006 or later and came up with the best 10 used cars that shoppers should be able to find for around $10,000. To make our list, the cars had to pass crash tests and have key standard safety features. We also analyzed reliability, drivability and practicality."
The list includes the 2006 Ford Escape, 2008 Ford Focus, 2007 Ford Freestyle, 2007 Ford Fusion, 2006 Honda Civic, 2006 Hyundai Azera, 2007 Hyundai Sonata, 2008 Kia Optima, 2008 Nissan Versa and 2007 Scion tC.