Forecasts from 11 independent analysts reveal that U.S. automobile sales will be higher in 2012, thanks to better credit availability, urgency to replace old vehicles, new products and rising employment. The sales estimates ranged from Wells Fargo Securities' 13 million light vehicles to Morgan Stanley's 14 million.
The average outlook of 13.6 million would be higher by 6 or 7 percent from the sales this year, which is expected to finish from 12.7 to 12.8 million units. The 1 million unit spread in predictions is narrower than the 1.5 million spread of seven analysts making the 2011 forecasts a year ago.
The analysts anticipate that the economic status next year would be just as unsettling and disruptive as in 2011. However, they stated that American buyers do not scare as easily as they did three years ago, the time when the financial crisis hit.
According to Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst for Kelley Blue Book, buyers who have experienced the crisis have been less likely to change automobile-buying behavior based on economic news whether bad or good. He pointed out the change in summer during the congressional debt-ceiling standoff, which triggered a reduction in the U.S. credit rating. He related that the Dow dropped 1,500 points, but vehicle sales remained consistent and smooth. He added that the American buyer has seen "so much gone wrong," adding that if the consumers have to purchase a car, "they will."
Jeff Schuster, top forecaster of the Americas for LMC Automotive, commented that economic "ups and downs" will not "greatly alter" the vehicle sales next year. He estimates sales of 13.8 million. The Americas for LMC Automotive is formerly a unit of J.D. Power and Associates. [source: Autonews]