Even with the impending fiscal cliff at the end of this month, auto buyers don’t appear to be bothered. According to J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive, U.S. sales are estimated to go up 14% in December. The companies believe that the seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate for the month will be 15.3 million, which is a bit lower than the 15.4 million recorded in November.
According to Automotive News, the November SAAR is expected to be 15.6 million, which was the highest level since January 2008. If these predictions prove to be correct, there would be 14.5 million-unit total light-vehicle sales in the U.S. for 2012. Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, said that the U.S. light-vehicle sales market is still a “bright spot” in the unsteady global environment.
He added that the fiscal cliff is now the only significant obstacle for the U.S. market. He believes that if this roadblock is cleared, the industry next year would be a step closer to having a stable and sustainable growth rate for autos, with volume higher than the 15 million unit mark. Lawmakers and the Obama administration are continuing talks with regards to the fiscal cliff, which pertains to tax increases and government spending cuts expected to be effective at the end of 2012.
J.D. Power estimates that there will be a retail selling rate of 12.2 million units in December 2012, which is lower than the 13.2 million set in November but higher than the 11.3 million in December 2011. J.D. Power added that December has proven to be an especially good month for the luxury segment, whose sales are on track to make up 16% of retail sales. This would be the highest share that the segment has achieved since December 2009. A year ago, it accounted for 14.8% of the market.