It’s predicted that in January, U.S. auto sales will continue to build on the impressive rate set at the end of 2012, with sales increasing by up to 15%. The climb is attributed to the improvements in the housing market and the built-up demand for cars and trucks. Thomson Reuters surveyed a group of analysts who said that on February 1, the industry is expected to post an annual sales rate in January of 15.3 million vehicles.
Car sales are considered to be an early indicator each month of consumer demand in the U.S. In a joint press release, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said that they expect January’s U.S. retail sales figure to reach its peak in five years. If fleet sales to commercial customers are included, the research firms estimate an annual sales rate of 15 million vehicles for the month.
In the last two months of 2012, the rates had exceeded 15 million. J.D. Power Senior Vice President John Humphrey said that the year got a “fast start,” which is a good indicator for the rest of 2013. He also said that sales continue to be on track to go back to pre-recession levels within a few years. Even as U.S. consumer confidence weakened during the recent "fiscal cliff" debate in Washington, auto sales stayed strong, increasing by 13% last year to 14.5 million vehicles.
Furthermore, the prices of U.S. homes that are sold have increased once more in December, implying that a housing recovery stays on course. Typically, a strong housing market means the increased sales of pickup trucks, which push profits to go up for U.S. automakers General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler.