December’s auto sales in the U.S. are forecasted to top 13 million on a yearly basis for the fourth straight month, LMC Automotive and J.D. Power and Associates has disclosed. The estimate indicates that the industry has not been slowed down by the uncertainty on the economy.
The organizations anticipated that the annual selling rate for new vehicles in December will be 13.4 million, an increase from the 12.5 million in the same month last year. The 2011 industry sales are expected to end at 12.7 million units, an increase from 11.6 million last year. LMC and J.D. Power still anticipate total sales of 13.8 million units in 2012.
Jeff Schuster, LMC Senior Vice President, commented that for the third consecutive time, sales of light vehicles are recording "strong selling rates" at the end of the year. The vehicle industry will look to build upon the "strong finish to 2011," he stated. However, the real test in next year will be "weathering a summer selling slowdown" as well as recording a full year of a "progressive recovery," Schuster further explained.
Since June, the U.S. car sales have been trending higher despite the weak employment and housing markets. In November, the sales pace hit a two-year high despite lesser spending on discounts by the vehicle manufacturers versus a year ago. LMC and J.D. Power anticipate that this trend will continue this month, with a total average incentive spending of 10 percent from 2010 at $2,700 per vehicle.
The research firms also expect industry sales to top 1 million cars -- on a retail basis -- for the first time since August 2009, which is when the U.S. government's "cash for clunkers" trade-in incentive program was running. Fleet sales are anticipated to increase 1 percent. [source: Autonews]