The company predicts the industry will sell 500,900 new vehicles this month at retail, which would mean a 7.9-million-unit year if January sales are extrapolated to the other months of the year. That is down from last January's seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) of 8.8 million units at dealerships, and the 8.9 million unit SAAR elaborated from December, which was a strong month versus the rest of a horrible year.
"January is typically a weak selling month, but this month is particularly impacted by December's strong close and extra selling weekend," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. "However, the sales pace has been improving as January continues, which is an encouraging sign for the recovering industry."
J.D. Power is predicting total sales, taking fleet sales to rental companies into account, will be 659,000 units, up 9% from January a year ago. The company is forecasting total 2010 sales of 11.5 million units for total sales and 9.5 million units for retail sales. "However," says the firm, "with improved leasing availability, loosening credit and healthier economic conditions, the industry's recovery could be more pronounced." Online auto marketing firm Edmunds.com gets the same picture in its crystal ball, predicting a slightly better January SAAR of about 10.5 million.
Sports car makers are likely to want to floor it and peel away from 2009 as quickly as possible. Edmunds says 2009 was an especially bad year for the segment.
The firm says Chevy's Corvette in 2009 saw its worst sales since 1961, when it was still a first-generation vehicle. The firm says sports cars sales were down 17.8% last year from 2008, but Corvette, the third-place sports car in 2008, dropped sales by 48.3% last year with sibling Camaro the Corvette's most frequently cross-shopped competitor.
The company sold fewer than 15,000 of the cars last year. Edmunds points out that in 2006, Chevrolet sold 36,518 'Vettes.
The Porsche 911 sales were off by about 18% last year, while Porsche's Boxster and Cayman were off 36% and 44%, respectively, in 2009, per Edmunds. Sales of the Audi TT fell 56.9% last year and sales of Audi's high-end sports car, the R8, dropped by 22.3%, notes the firm.