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Strong March auto sales forecasted by industry experts

Posted on Monday, March 31, 2014 at 7:49:38 AM

This past winter has been particularly challenging for car sales and buyers interested in affordable auto financing. However, with spring finally here, several industry experts predict that buying activity will improve in March.

According to, a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15.8 million vehicles is estimated for March. This would be 24 percent above the sales figure for February, and a 1.7 percent uptick year-over-year.

"Car buyers who chose not to brave the cold weather last month found plenty of opportunity this month," said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst for "Now that spring has arrived, weather conditions shouldn't have the impact on car shoppers it had at the beginning of 2014, and we'll be able to get a better sense of the true strength of the marketplace in coming months."

Those strong numbers were echoed by Jesse Toprak, chief analyst for He also predicted a March SAAR of 15.8 million for new car sales. 

Toprak explained that sales so far this year haven't been as high as expected, which has caused the total annual estimate to decline. However, he stressed that the industry is still performing well, and consumer demand is picking up. This should lead to an increase in activity in the coming months.