May 13, 2002


Global vehicle sales up slightly in April

Westlake Village, California – Spurred by strong sales in the United States, the global light vehicle selling rate remained strong in April, according to an automotive analysis by J.D. Power-LMC Automotive Forecasting Services.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of global light-vehicle sales during April is estimated at 56.2 million units-up slightly from March’s rate of 55.8 million units. Since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, global sales have hovered between a 55 to 56 million-unit selling rate, which is a consistent high level.

“The U.S. auto market continues to exceed expectations with, April U.S. sales up 7.2 percent compared to a year ago,” said Dr. Robert Schnorbus, chief economist for J.D. Power-LMC in Troy, Mich. “Aggressive incentives and a stronger-than-expected economy have helped U.S. sales for the past several months.”

Canada’s sales are getting a similar boost, with April sales up 10.9 percent compared with a year ago. Sales in Mexico were up 3.6 percent.

“The European market showed a small year-over-year sales gain in April,” said Charles Young, director of research for J.D. Power-LMC in Oxford, England. “But the comparison is with a weak month last year, and with no Easter holiday sales in April this year, it translates to a very disappointing selling rate. The U.K. market, though still strong, is past its peak and is no longer able to offset weakening Southern European demand.”

Korea continued to enjoy a period of exceptionally strong vehicle demand, with sales up 22.6 percent year over year. Japanese sales continued to slide, with sales down 1.4 percent compared with last year.

Despite an economic crisis in Argentina, the selling rate in South America remained broadly stable in the first four months of 2002. Year-over-year sales in Mercosur were down 15.8 percent.

J.D. Power-LMC Automotive forecasting Services, a global alliance between J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive Services in Oxford, England, provides comprehensive vehicle forecasts and competitive assessments on a worldwide basis.

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