Westlake Village, California – The new-vehicle market in the U.S. is showing signs of stabilizing, according to a report by J.D. Power and Associates, despite sales being down by approximately 33 per cent during the first 16 selling days of April 2009, when compared with 2008.

New-vehicle retail sales for April are expected to come in at 668,000, which represent a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 7.8 million units. This is down by 33 per cent from one year ago, but stable with the SAARs of February 2009, at 7.7 million units, and March, at 7.9 million.

Total industry sales for April, including fleet sales, are projected to be 853,000 units, which translates to a SAAR of 9.7 million.

“Industry sales are starting to show signs of stability, albeit at levels near 30-year lows, as the retail sales SAAR has been at or near the 7.8 million-unit level for the past three months,” said Gary Dilts, senior vice-president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power. “In spite of continued supply corrections, we remain optimistic that coming months will exhibit stability with a modest increase in the second half of the year, which is in line with our 8.5 million-unit retail and 10.4 million-unit total light-vehicle forecast for 2009.”

The company estimates potential growth in vehicle demand of 20 million units during the next five years. This will be driven primarily by an increase in the number of households, consumers returning to the market with more vehicle equity in an improved credit environment, and an improved economy that will yield enhanced consumer options in the automotive market, driven by new-vehicle launches.

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