After Hurricane Sandy heavily affected the vehicle sales in the United States in late October and early November, consultancies J.D. Power & Associates and LMC Automotive expect sales for this month to post a 12-percent year-on-year increase. The consultancies divulged that vehicle sales in November have been rising each week, and there are indications that December will be a strong sales month to end the best year for US auto sales since before the 2008-2009 economic slump.
November sales are expected to hit 15 million new vehicles on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, LMC and J.D. Power said in a report. This would be the highest monthly sales rate in 2012, topping the 14.94 million rate for September.
According to the Automotive News Data Center, the last time that US auto sales reached 15 million was in February 2008, when it hit 15.52 million. The consultancies expect total light vehicle auto sales for November 2012 at 1.11 million vehicles, up 2.2 percent from October.
According to LMC and J.D. Power, one of the reasons for higher auto sales is the need to replace aging vehicles, as the average age of vehicles in the US is around 11 years. Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, said that the “irrepressible need and willingness” of consumers to replace aging vehicles is more compelling than the effects of natural disasters and fiscal turmoil both in the US and abroad.
He said that they expect a sustained recovery pace in vehicle sales over the next six months, barring any fiscal cliff hangover. Schuster said that the medium-term forecast is dependent on more pronounced economic activity and growth. LMC Automotive maintained its 2012 full-year forecast of 14.4 million vehicles, 12.5 percent higher than in 2011.