Report: U.S. Car Sales Predicted to Drop 33% in April

From the looks of things, April won't be bringing any good news for automakers in the U.S. During the first 16 selling days in April, new-vehicle retail sales in the country are down by about 33 percent over the same period in 2008, according to a report from J.D. Power which predicts that the market will close at the end of the month at 668,000 units, again 33 percent down from a year ago. Total industry sales that include fleet cars for April are projected to be around 853,000 units.

The report goes on to say that the firm's forecast for year-end sales in the U.S. in 2009, stands at 8.5 million-unit retail and 10.4 million-unit total light-vehicles.

On a bright note, J.D. Power said that things will get much better in the near future as its analysts estimate a potential growth in vehicle demand of 20 million units during the next five years in the U.S. According to the firm, this demand 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."

"We expect market conditions to slowly improve during the remainder of 2009, which will lead us back to a solid industry with improved long-term fundamental growth," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates.