According to Kelley Blue Book, the good news is that cash missing from paychecks due to higher Social Security deductions is not dissuading people from sticking to new car-buying plans. But it is impacting things like when and how much.
KBB says February buying patterns are in line with the overall full-year projection of a 15.3M sales year, representing a 3.4% increase over 2012. It notes that the rate of growth is down compared to 2012 over 2011, but that is largely a result of the fact that 2011 sales were lackluster.
“Similar to previous months, consumers will be lured to dealer showrooms by low finance rates, affordable lease payments, and most importantly, new and compelling product,” said Alec Gutierrez , senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book . “As of February 1, approximately 80 percent of new vehicles available for sale were model-year 2013, so consumers should have no problem locating a newly redesigned 2013 Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima or Chevrolet Malibu.”
According to KBB, 28% of those surveyed said the loss of the 2% payroll tax holiday will have no affect whatsoever on their car buying plans. But 39% said they would delay a purchase, and 27% said they would spend less than originally planned.
Nonetheless, KBB noted no slow-down in sales, but is keeping a close eye on data as it flows in.
Something else is having an impact on purchases. “With gas prices now approaching $3.75 per gallon nationally, Kelley Blue Book anticipates strong demand for fuel-efficient vehicles in February,” said Gutierrez. “Toyota’s focus on fuel efficiency across its entire model lineup should help the brand’s sales performance, both in February and in the months to come.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Keep your eyes peeled for a big RBR-TVBR study of consumer car-buying desires. Coming in less than a month, we’ll analyze exclusive data from Prosper Insights and Analytics that will compare radio listening and television viewing habits to car buying habits – providing your sales staff with invaluable information to take along the next time they visit a local dealer. The first installment of a six-part series will hit our Media Information Bureau starting April 1.