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February car sales expected to top last year's finish, survey says

Posted On Tue, February 26, 2013

Based on the pace with which cars have been selling in the second month of the year, February could turn out to be one of the best months for new-car sales in quite some time, a new forecast suggests.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, new-vehicle sales are expected to finish at 931,100, which on seasonally adjusted annual basis translates to 12.1 million cars sold. That's well ahead of the 11.7 million that exchanged hands during the same period last year.

John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power, saidĀ that all indicatorsĀ are pointing toward a stellar February - a month that traditionally does not bring a significant number of automotive purchases when compared to other periods of the year.

"All signs of the industry's health are positive right now," said Humphrey. "Average transaction prices are up, incentives are stable, leasing is at a healthy level and newly redesigned models continue to make an impact on the marketplace."

Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, which helped fund the report, added that pent-up vehicle demand and an ever improving economic climate appears to be what's driving the boost in new-car sales. He added that this trend will likely continue for much much of the year, thanks in large part to the high number of new-models that will be making their appearance on showroom floors.

In an attempt to drum up sales, automakers often push sales events around this time of year, especially on Presidents' Day and Washington's birthday.

Before purchasing a new car, buyers may want to consider the insurance ramifications. As a general rule, auto insurance rates are higher for new vehicles than they are for those that are used or pre-owned.

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