J.D. Power, LMC Automotive: US new-vehicle retail sales headed for record April

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According to a joint forecast released by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, US new-vehicle retail sales in April 2021 are headed for the highest number ever recorded for that month.

The news will be some consolation to automakers, who have struggled with a semiconductor shortage. As a result of the shortage, General Motors, Ford, Stellantis, Honda and many others have had to idle production.

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New-vehicle retail sales set to hit record April

Despite the slowdown in output, US automotive sales surged in April.

According to a forecast released today by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, new-vehicle retail sales in April are set to reach 1,325,500 units. Trucks and SUVs are expected to account for 76.1% of those sales.

That sales figure would mark a whopping 110.6% increase from April 2020 sales (when adjusted for selling days).

Meanwhile, the April sales forecast marked a 20.8% increase compared with April 2019 sales.

In addition, the automotive intelligence firms projected 1,479,800 units in total new sales. That would mark an increase of 107.1% from April 2020. When compared with April 2019, it is a 7.8% jump when adjusted for selling days.

The groups forecast the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for total new-vehicle sales to reach 18.1 million units. That would mark an increase of 9.4 million units from 2020 and 1.7 million units from 2019.

The record month comes despite low inventory, according to Thomas King, president of J.D. Power’s data and analytics division.

“Despite low inventory, April 2021 will be another record-breaking month for the U.S. auto industry,” King said in this month’s forecast report. “Building on the strength that began in Q4 2020 and continued through Q1 2021, the industry will set records for April sales volumes, transaction prices, consumer expenditure and retailer profitability.”

King added that the industry might not be able to sustain the current sales pace in the coming months.

Chip makers renew call to strengthen US chip manufacturing

Speaking of semiconductors, a group of former national security officials sent a letter to the Biden administration urging it to consider funding for a number of pieces of legislation toward the goal of maintaining the country’s technological edge.

“These traditional national security capabilities will remain critical for our government as we seek to compete with China, but we also acknowledge that the real center of gravity in our competition will be technology,” the letter reads. “Regaining our position as a global technology and manufacturing leader will require bold government action.”

The officials called for funding of the CHIPS for America Act, the USA Telecommunications Act and the Endless Frontier Act.

“The U.S. must adopt an offensive strategy to build out domestic manufacturing capabilities to reduce supply chain vulnerabilities while increasing investment in semiconductor manufacturing and research and development,” the letter continued.

Meanwhile, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) earlier this week echoed the letter’s sentiments.

“A key part of strengthening U.S. national security is ensuring America’s global leadership in semiconductors, which are essential to a range of critical defense applications,” SIA President and CEO John Neuffer said.

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