WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – A new-vehicle sales analysis from J.D. Power says fleet sales for the year are up 8%, based on J.D. Power’s SAAR figures. In May 2011, fleet sales were at 2.5 million units SAAR, but in May 2012, fleet sales were at 2.7 million units SAAR. Fleet volume of total light-duty vehicle sales for the month of May, 2012, was at 22%.

J.D. Power’s analysis says overall vehicle sales will hit 1.384 million in May (78% retail, 22% fleet) and that the total seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for sales will hit 14.5 million in 2012 due to high fleet volume. J.D. Power used sales and forecasting data from LMC Automotive.

"Another healthy retail selling pace in May, combined with a fleet mix of more than 20%, is driving the further improvement in the 2012 outlook for U.S. light-vehicle sales," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. "There is little question that this market currently has momentum, but it also is benefiting from the stability in the economic and macro fundamentals required to sustain a higher selling rate throughout the remainder of the year."

One factor that could have affected production but has been overcome by automakers was a potential resin shortage due to an explosion at a chemical factory in Germany, according to LMC Automotive.

"With the increase in demand and more pronounced production recovery with the Japanese manufacturers, North American production volume for the remainder of 2012 is expected to be vigorous," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. "Risk of volume loss related the PA-12 resin issue appears to have been abated, therefore no longer constraining further growth in production volume."

LMC Automotive said light-vehicle production in North America is up 22% in 2012 when compared with 2011. The growth in production in the region is primarily due to an increase in U.S. manufacturing, up 25% year-to-date over 2011. J.D. Power noted that several automotive manufacturers have limited their normal summer shutdown times to keep up with demand and stabilize inventory during the summer sales season.