Strong new vehicle retail sales in 2011

Dec. 22, 2011

Good news for new vehicle retail sales. Consistent with their performance in November, 2011, new-vehicle retail sales continue to show strength.

According to a monthly sales forecast developed by J.D. Power and Associates Power Information Network (PIN) and LMC Automotive, December new-vehicle retail sales are projected to come in at 1,033,700 units. That is the first time retail sales will top 1 million units since the Cash for Clunkers program drove strong sales in August, 2009.

This volume represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 11.2 million units. The company says Retail transactions are the most accurate measurement of true underlying consumer demand for new vehicles.

“Retail light-vehicle sales in December are performing well month-to-date, even as total incentive spending averages $2,700, down 10% from December 2010,” says John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. “The industry has managed through another series of external shocks and is in a healthier position as the year closes.”

With December sales tracking as expected, LMC Automotive is holding its 2011 forecast at 10.3 million units for retail light-vehicle sales and 12.7 million units for total light-vehicle sales. LMC Automotive’s forecast for 2012 remains at 13.8 million units for total light-vehicle sales, but has been adjusted slightly upward to 11.3 million units (from 11.2 million units) for retail light-vehicle sales.

“For the third straight time, light-vehicle sales are posting strong selling rates at the close of the year,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. “Next year, the automotive industry will look to build upon the strong finish to 2011, but the real test in 2012 will be weathering a summer selling slowdown and posting a full year of a progressive recovery.”

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