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Vehicle sales strong in first half of 2013

As June came to a close, a number of reports have come out indicating that not only was this past month strong for vehicle sales, but sales have been solid through the first half of the year. 

One report from TrueCar, the authority on new car pricing information, trends and forecasting, indicated that new light vehicle sales are expected to come in at 1,380,543 units, accounting for a 7.8 percent increase on a year-over-year comparison and a 3.9 percent increase on a month-over-month comparison. TrueCar noted that this translates to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 15.7 million new vehicles, up from 15.3 million a month before and 14.4 million a year before. 

Considering incentives were down in June, experts credit the strong month in sales to the quality of the product lineup.

"Despite the lackluster performance in financial markets in June, new vehicle sales reached their highest levels in six years – yet more proof that the recent surge in consumer demand is real and not going anywhere," said Jesse Toprak, senior analyst for TrueCar.com. "The better news for the automakers is that they are back to selling nearly 16 million units a year collectively while spending less on incentives, thanks to the best selection of vehicles ever in their showrooms; product is the king once again."

KBB issues similar report
Kelley Blue Book also issued a similar report expecting the seasonally adjusted annualized rate to hit 15.5 million vehicles in June, marking the highest rate since November 2012 and the highest June rate since 2007. 

Experts at KBB noted that the improving economy has helped push new car sales along. 

"We've had a strong first half of the year with new-car sales up nearly 7 percent compared to the first half of last year," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book. "The industry continues to benefit from modest improvements in housing, unemployment and consumer confidence."

Edmunds concurs
A recent report from Edmunds.com agrees that June was a strong moth for the automotive industry, and experts indicated that the first half of the year was everything automakers could have asked for.

According to the report, the vehicle manufacturer with the most sales was General Motors, followed by Ford, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai/Kia, Nissan and VW/Audi. 

"Within the last month we saw a slowing stock market and a stalled unemployment recovery, but the automotive market continues to shine through it all," says Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. "The first half of 2013 was every bit as strong as the auto industry could expect at the beginning of the year, and there's no reason why the next six months can't maintain the same momentum."

More vehicles means more repairs
As the automotive industry continues to see pent-up demand driving sales, more buyers will need to keep their vehicles maintained. 

Vehicle service centers should look to target these new vehicle owners with a sound marketing campaign. Whether it's through a social media, emailing or mailing strategy, professional service centers can try to secure customers for the long-term by appealing to customers who recently bought a vehicle. These campaigns should highlight the importance of preventative maintenance and how it can extend the life of a vehicle. 

Even while vehicle sales are coming in at a strong pace, automobiles on the road are still as old as they have ever been. As more consumers are poised to make purchases, professional service centers should target these buyers by stressing the importance of preventative maintenance and not to just come into a shop when the vehicle has a problem but in order to avoid a problem from occurring.