March expected to see increase in auto sales, says J.D. Power

In an indicator that consumers may be getting a better hold of their personal finances and regaining some trust in the auto industry, J.D. Power and Associates found that auto retail sales are expected to skyrocket in March.

According to the most recent data released last Friday, new-vehicle sales for March are expected total 883,300 by the end of the month. The projected monthly figure would put it well above the 567,942 vehicles sold in February, and 25 percent higher than the 678,824 sold one year earlier in March 2009.

“Due to improving economic conditions, downside risk appears to be subsiding,” said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power. “However, the market remains very dynamic, and it will be critical for sales momentum to be sustained as the market heads into the spring selling season.”

Despite the uneven figures seen so far in 2010 due to unemployment and wariness because of the recalls in February, J.D. Power maintained its 2010 sales forecast of 11.7 million units for total sales and 9.6 million units for retail sales.