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February vehicle sales could experience strong month-over-month gains

Posted on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 9:27:57 AM

So far, the biggest impediment for buyers interested in affordable auto financing has been the weather, not tight lending conditions or rising prices. However, even with cold temperatures and heavy snow, forecasts are positive both on a yearly and monthly basis.

According to Edmunds.com, an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15.5 million new cars and trucks will be sold in February. If that figure holds, that would be an 18.9 percent increase from January and a 0.8 increase year-over-year. 

"When the weather doesn't behave, it has a negative impact on car shoppers who are looking for an easy and smooth process at the dealership, so that's why sales will be weak for a second month in a row," said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst for Edmunds.com. "But as the weather improves - a lot like we saw this past week - dealerships will be filled with eager shoppers. The strength of pent-up demand promises to keep sales on the right path as spring approaches."

In addition, TrueCar reported that the new vehicle average transaction price also increased in February, up 3.6 percent compared to the same time last year. The ATP for light vehicles was estimated at $32,074 for the month, up $1,110 from February 2013. What's more, incentive spending ticked up as well, at a faster rate than transaction prices.