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Forecasts: Strong December for Vehicle Sales, Slowing growth in 2013

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It looks like auto sales are finishing strong in 2012, however the growth rate for auto sales will probably slow in 2013. This is important because auto sales have been a key growth sector over the last few years, and that contribution will probably slow going forward. 

The following table shows annual light vehicle sales, and the change from the previous year.  Light vehicle sales have seen double digit growth for three consecutive years, but that will probably slow in 2013.

Light Vehicle Sales
Sales (millions) Annual Change
2005 16.9 0.5%
2006 16.5 -2.6%
2007 16.1 -2.5%
2008 13.2 -18.0%
2009 10.4 -21.2%
2010 11.6 11.1%
2011 12.7 10.2%
20121 14.5 13.5%
20132 15.0 3.7%
1Estimate, 2Forecast

Here are a couple of December forecasts:

TrueCar is forecasting: December 2012 New Car Sales Expected to Be Up 10 Percent According to TrueCar; December 2012 SAAR at 15.6M, Highest Since December 2007

For December 2012, new light vehicle sales in the U.S. (including fleet) is expected to be 1,370,658 units, up 10.3 percent from December 2011 and up 19.9 percent from November 2012 (on an unadjusted basis)

The December 2012 forecast translates into a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate (“SAAR”) of 15.6 million new car sales, up from 13.6 million in December 2011 and up from 15.5 million in November 2012

From Edmunds.com: Edmunds.com Forecasts 1.36 Million New Cars Sold in December

Edmunds.com … forecasts that 1,361,899 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in December for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) this month of 15.4 million light vehicles. This would bring total 2012 sales to 14.5 million light vehicles, which would be a 13.5 percent increase over 2011, and the highest annual total since 2007.

“December will be the icing on the cake for 2012 – it’s a strong close for a year that had significant auto sales growth throughout,” says Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. “Along with the momentum of the improving economy, December car sales have been helped by compelling advertising, generous deals from most automakers, and the rush of demand unexpectedly and unfortunately caused by Hurricane Sandy.”

And for 2013: Edmunds.com Predicts 2013 Sales Trends: Growth of New Car Sales Will Slow, Used Car Prices Will Fall

Car sales will grow in 2013, but that growth will slow to a single-digit pace, says Edmunds.com … Edmunds.com projects 15 million new car sales in 2013, a four percent increase over 2012.


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