Categories
Assets Business Corporate Finance Investing Loans Personal Finance Products and Services Shopping Spending

Annual Car Sales Strength Expected To Slow

Annual Car Sales Strength Expected To Slow Following Three-Year Trend Of Double-Digit Growth, According To Kelley Blue Book Analysts

Industry Sales Will Continue to Outpace Economic Growth; Affordable Pricing and Credit Environment Keeps Consumers Coming Back

IRVINE, California, Feb. 13, 2013, New-vehicle sales are expected to grow nearly 6 percent in 2013 to 15.3 million units overall, breaking the three-year trend of double-digit sales growth that has persisted since 2010, according to Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new and used car information.

“Although the sales pace is expected to slow this year, automakers have demonstrated that they can generate solid profits with sales at current levels, which is a strong indication that they will remain disciplined by continuing to match production to meet demand,” said Alec Gutierrez , senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book . “Sales growth won’t come easily, especially considering the challenges facing the industry in today’s economy. While economic growth is expected to arrive slowly in 2013, there are several indications that point toward solid auto industry sales growth in the years ahead.”

Among the various factors contributing to the ongoing recovery, Kelley Blue Book believes that pent-up demand, high used-vehicle values, improving credit availability and low interest rates all have played a direct role in the auto industry’s ability to outperform the economy. Each of these factors has been critical to-date and will continue to drive sales this year and beyond.

Kelley Blue Book: New-Car Sales to Hit 15.3 Million Units in 2013

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Annual Sales Volume   (Millions)

16.1

13.2

10.4

11.6

12.8

14.5

15.3

Auto Industry Sales Will Continue to Outpace Economic Growth
The economy has come a long way since nearly collapsing in late 2008, yet a long road to recovery remains. At the depths of the recession in 2009, the unemployment rate hit a 30-year high of 10 percent, new-vehicle sales hit a 30-year low of 10.4 million units, and the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index hit an all-time low of 25 (for perspective, in 1985 the index was at 100). Some feared the onset of a second Great Depression in 2009, and while a repeat of the 1930s doesn’t appear to be in the cards, the nation still has a long way to go before the economy is completely back on its feet.

Today unemployment remains at an uncomfortably high 7.8 percent, while consumer confidence is below 60, which is notably better than in 2009 but well below the 4.5 percent unemployment rate and 100+ consumer confidence readings from 2007. This is important to note since 2007 was the final year of a 10-year span in which the auto industry consistently posted sales of 16 million units or more. Although the economy has recovered slowly and still has a long way to go before unemployment and consumer confidence are back to levels last seen in 2007, Kelley Blue Book doesn’t see a reason why auto sales cannot continue to outperform the pace of the economic recovery.

“Looking at the historical relationship between unemployment and auto sales from the 1980s through 2007, unemployment would need to be below 6 percent to generate auto sales of 16 million units or more,” said Gutierrez. “According to estimates from the Federal Reserve, unemployment only will drop down to 7.4 percent in 2013 at best; a point that would historically justify sales of only 13 million to 14 million units. However, since 2010, new-car sales have outperformed their traditional relationship with unemployment, which means that sales in excess of 15 million units clearly are attainable.”

Auto sales also have outperformed their historical relationship to consumer confidence by a significant margin. Despite expectations for consumer confidence to remain well below levels historically required to justify sales of 15 million units or more, Kelley Blue Book believes auto sales will continue to grow as predicted provided that consumer confidence remains stable.

Pent-Up Demand Drives Growth Since 2010, Will Persist in 2013
While economic growth has remained relatively weak and only explains part of the auto sales recovery, Kelley Blue Book sees pent-up demand playing a more critical role in the rebirth of the industry. According to Polk, registered vehicles in the United States are 11 years old on average; the oldest ever recorded. The increase in vehicle age can be attributed to two key trends. First, vehicles have grown much older as consumers have opted to hold onto them longer, due to the weakened economy. Consumers have focused on deleveraging after the collapse of the real estate bubble, and unless they require a replacement or the model no longer meets the needs of its owners, many are choosing to hold on to their vehicle rather than acquire additional debt to purchase an all-new vehicle. This leads directly to the second major influence of increased vehicle age, which is improved vehicle quality.

Aging Vehicles to Continue to Generate Demand in 2013

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Avg. Registered

Vehicle Age

8.9

8.9

9

9.1

9.4

9.5

9.7

9.8

10

10.3

10.6

10.8

Source: Polk

“Vehicles produced during the past few model years are significantly higher in quality than those produced in previous decades,” said Gutierrez. “In the 1990s, consumers came to expect a vehicle produced by a Japanese manufacturer to last 100,000 miles and beyond. Now we can say the same about vehicles produced by all manufacturers. Whether shopping for a Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Ford or Hyundai, consumers can be reasonably assured that their vehicle will hit 100,000 miles with ease, and 200,000 miles or more with proper maintenance and care.”

With consumers delaying the purchase of a new vehicle due to economic hardship and improved vehicle quality, Kelley Blue Book expects the average age of vehicles on the road to continue to increase. As vehicles continue to get older and economic conditions slowly improve, buyers are expected to continue to return to market.

Leasing to Aid Sales Growth in 2013
When auto sales hit their low point in 2009, leasing all but dried up. The lack of lease returns during the past several years has played a pivotal role in the used-vehicle supply shortfall that has driven used-vehicle values to record highs. The reduced lease returns also have limited the number of consumers that traditionally would be seeking a new vehicle at the end of their lease term. While this reduced the number of in-market shoppers in recent years, Kelley Blue Book anticipates this trend to begin to reverse in 2013. Leasing bounced back in 2010, increasing nearly 700,000 units year-over-year. Kelley Blue Book believes that the return in leasing will generate as many as 300,000 additional in-market shoppers this year, a number that will increase in 2014 and beyond. With lease returns expected to approach more normal levels during the next few years, Kelley Blue Book anticipates new-vehicle sales to grow and used-vehicle values to soften.

Kelley Blue Book: Increase in Lease Returns to

Drive Boost in Demand for 2013

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Total

Vehicles

Leased

2,446,569

2,453,189

1,935,910

1,083,619

1,709,149

1,960,128

2,284,800

Source: Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights

Affordable Pricing and Credit Environment Keeps Consumers Coming Back
Consumers looking to purchase a new vehicle in 2013 will find affordable pricing on some of the best vehicles being produced today. On average, consumers can expect to find new vehicles priced at approximately 94 percent of MSRP, not including incentives. Not only are transaction prices quite favorable for consumers, but interest rates also remain at historically low levels.

“Consumers with a solid credit history should have no trouble obtaining a loan for 3 percent or less for up to 72 months,” said Gutierrez. “Many automakers continue to offer loans of zero percent for up to 60 months, as well as rock-bottom lease payments around $160 per month for a compact and only a few dollars north of $200 per month for a mid-size.”

Leases accounted for approximately 18 percent of all vehicles sold in 2012, returning to levels regularly seen prior to the collapse in industry sales in 2009. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that interest rates will remain near zero through at least 2015, so consumers looking for a new vehicle can expect to find affordable pricing on new models for several years to come.

The affordability of new vehicles has been made even more attractive by the high values maintained by used cars. Although approximately 8 percent below the all-time highs seen in 2011, late-model used-car values remain uncomfortably close to new-car transaction prices, influencing many consumers to purchase new rather than used. This phenomenon is most pronounced for high-demand vehicles such as subcompact, compact and mid-size cars. These vehicles all have been significantly upgraded in recent years and generate excellent fuel economy for an affordable price. As a result, they have maintained extraordinarily strong values in the used-car market. In fact, the difference between a five-year payment on a new car and a 1- to 2-year-old used model is as little as $30 per month apart in some cases. Kelley Blue Book expects used-car values to continue to ease from current highs, so this phenomenon likely will play less of a role in the years ahead.

Kelley Blue Book: New-Car Pricing Remains

Near Used-Car Pricing

MY2013
(New)

MY 2012 (Used)

MY2011

MY2010

MY2009

MY2008

Average Monthly

Payment for a Compact

$335

$302

$280

$253

$224

$202

Source: Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights

For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book ‘s KBB.com, visit www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or @kelleybluebook), like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb, and get updates on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+kbb/.

About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Suggested Retail Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies as well as governmental agencies. KBB.com provides consumer pricing and information on cars for sale, minivans, pickup trucks, sedan, hybrids, electric cars, and SUVs. Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader Group.

SOURCE:

Kelley Blue Book

Categories
Consumers Personal Finance Products and Services Shopping Spending

Survey Finds Large Spending By Consumers On Valentine’s Gifts

Majority of Consumers to Spend Up to $100 on Valentine’s Day Gifts, PriceGrabber® Survey Finds

36 Percent of Shoppers Plan to Compare Prices in-Store Using Mobile Phones

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7, 2013, Online shopping site PriceGrabber® just released results of its 2013 Valentine’s Day Shopping Survey, revealing a majority of consumers plan to shower their loved ones with gifts this Valentine’s Day holiday. Sixty-two percent of consumers plan to spend up to $100 on gifts this year, a decrease from 68 percent in 2012. However, 36 percent of consumers plan to spend more than $100 compared to 28 percent in 2012. Conducted from Jan. 22 to Jan. 31, 2013, the survey includes responses from 2,251 U.S. online shopping consumers.

Valentine’s Day Shopping Budgets On Par or Slightly Higher than 2012
When consumers who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day were asked about their spending habits compared with last year, 52 percent indicated they plan to spend the same amount as in 2012. Twenty-six percent will spend more, 17 percent will spend less, and 5 percent will not purchase a gift this year. According to PriceGrabber’s survey, the economic climate continues to be a relevant factor in shoppers’ mindsets, with 55 percent indicating the economy will have an effect on their Valentine’s Day purchasing decisions in 2013.

Consumers to Hit Stores and Shop Online for Gifts; Mobile Makes a Presence
Shoppers plan to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts in a variety of ways this year, with online and mobile shopping continuing to increase in popularity. When consumers were asked to select all of the ways in which they plan to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts, 69 percent indicated they would buy gifts from a store, up from 54 percent in 2012. Fifty-six percent of consumers said they would purchase gifts online, a significant increase from 34 percent last year. This was followed by 5 percent of shoppers that indicated a purchase via electronic tablet device, compared to 1 percent in 2012; and 4 percent cited a purchase using a mobile phone, a slight increase from 2 percent last year.

“Consumers continue to shop and conduct product research in advance of making purchases in order to find the best pricing on products. We expect this trend to continue as shoppers hit the stores and go online to make their Valentine’s Day gift purchases this year,” said Rojeh Avanesian, vice president of marketing and analytics of PriceGrabber.com. “Our survey showed that 36 percent of consumers plan to compare prices using their mobile phones when Valentine’s Day gift shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, a jump from 29 percent in 2012, revealing that consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to look for the best deals.”

Many shoppers will celebrate with an evening out and purchase greeting cards
When consumers were asked to select all of the things they plan to spend money on during their Valentine’s Day celebration, 39 percent indicated they would spend money on an evening out. This was followed by 35 percent of shoppers who noted they would purchase a greeting card for a loved one; 22 percent will buy flowers; and 20 percent will purchase candy. Fourteen percent of consumers selected jewelry, another 14 percent cited clothing and an additional 14 percent said they plan to buy themed gifts, such as stuffed animals or a heart-shaped present.

Most will shop one week in advance and plan to use cash and credit cards for purchases
When consumers who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day were asked when they plan to purchase their gifts, 43 percent said they will do so one week in advance. Twenty-five percent of shoppers will purchase gifts two weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, 22 percent will shop within 48 hours of the gift giving day, and 10 percent will shop three weeks prior. Cash and credit cards are the most popular forms of payment among consumers planning to buy Valentine’s Day gifts this year. When survey respondents were asked to select all of the ways in which they plan to pay for a gift purchase, 55 percent said a credit card and another 55 percent cited cash. Eleven percent of consumers indicated they will use gift cards to make purchases.

For shrewd shopping on any budget, visit http://www.pricegrabber.com to browse products, compare prices, read merchant reviews, find local deals, online deals, and more. Download the mobile application for smart shopping on the go.

INFOGRAPHIC: http://i.pgcdn.com/images/infographics/valentinesday2013.jpg

About PriceGrabber.com®
PriceGrabber is a leading online shopping site with more than 23 million unique shoppers monthly. At PriceGrabber, savvy shoppers can instantly find and compare over 80 million unique products and services across 25 categories with more than 11,000 merchants. Compare products side by side to find the right retailers at the best prices within popular categories, such as Digital Cameras, TVs, Electronics, Computers, Clothing, Books, and more. PriceGrabber provides shoppers with the right product from the right merchant at the best price anytime, anywhere. Visit us at http://www.pricegrabber.com.

SOURCE: PriceGrabber.com

Categories
Employment Finance News Spending

U.S. Economic Reports Contraction in the 4th quarter of 2012

AIA Sounds the Alarm on Economic Downturn Report

Statement by Marion C. Blakey, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association on reports of the contraction of the U.S. economy in the 4th quarter of 2012.

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 30, 2013, The contraction of the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter underscores AIA’s warning for the past 18 months that severe across the board budget cuts—both to defense and non-defense discretionary spending—threaten to throw the economy into a tailspin. It is clear from the Commerce Department report that reduced government spending, primarily in the defense sector, is a major cause for the GDP decline. In July 2011, Congress enacted a cut of $487 billion to the defense budget, resulting in ongoing, significant job losses in the defense sector.

In less than 30 days, unless Congress and the White House act, sequestration will kick in, leading to higher unemployment, reduced tax revenue and lower consumer spending. This will be the second wave that overwhelms our floundering economic boat, likely sinking us back into a recession.

As recently as today, Chuck Hagel, nominee for the position of Defense Secretary, said, “[Sequestration] would harm military readiness and disrupt each and every investment program. I urge Congress to eliminate the sequester threat permanently and pass a balanced deficit-reduction plan.”

Sequestration threatens both America’s national security and economic health. Congress and the White House need to focus on a solution that addresses the deficit problem smartly, through a balanced, bipartisan approach that doesn’t cripple our economy and hamstring our national security.

Facebook | Flickr | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube

Founded in 1919 shortly after the birth of flight, the Aerospace Industries Association is the most authoritative and influential trade association representing the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, missiles, homeland and cybersecurity systems, materiel and related components, equipment services and information technology.

SOURCE: Aerospace Industries Association

RELATED LINKS: http://www.aia-aerospace.org/