2010 Toyota CamryEnlarge Photo
2010 Toyota TundraEnlarge Photo
2010 Toyota CorollaEnlarge Photo
The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) for U.S. auto sales bounded to 12.5 million in early March. Aside from last August, when Cash-for-Clunkers sales were in full swing, that's the highest SAAR on record since September 2008.
The bounce is credited to the vast number of sales incentives currently being offered by automakers. Many of those have come from companies like Ford and General Motors, in hopes of capturing would-be Toyota customers concerned about the safety of Toyota vehicles thanks to the company's high-profile recalls. To defend its territory, Toyota is offering its own set of incentives, including 0% financing for 60 months for qualified buyers on rides like the 2010 Camry, Corolla, and Tundra.
Analysts at Edmunds don't expect the surge to last too long, though, and sales will likely cool to 11 million by the end of the month. However, when compared to March 2009's SAAR of 9.7 million, 11 million is nothing to sneer at.
As an added bonus, for those of who might be unfamiliar with the concept of SAAR, here's a short explanation, courtesy of Investopedia:
The SAAR is calculated by dividing the unadjusted annual rate for the month by its seasonality factor and creating an adjusted annual rate for the month. These adjustments are more often used when economic data is released to the public. The ice cream industry tends to have a large level of seasonality as it will sell more ice cream in the summer than in the winter. By using seasonally adjusted sale rates, the sales in the summer can be accurately compared to the sales in the winter.