With millions of dollars of television commercials airing this month and millions more in incentive money on the table, automakers are expected to end the year with a bang, sales expected to be up at least 4% from December 2012 – with the industry anticipating all-time record consumer spending.
While new-vehicle sales started off slowly in December, they are expected to finish strong at the end of the month, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. That would be good news for industry planners worried about a recent bulge in dealer inventories that’s already led several manufacturers to trim back production.
Consumers in the U.S. are expected to spend more than $34 billion on new vehicles in December, a historic high for the month. That reflects not just the end-of-year sales burst but also record transaction prices, according to the forecast. The optimism was reinforced by a new report from the U.S. Department of Commerce which indicated the U.S. economy was expanding more rapidly than first thought. The Commerce Department now estimates the U.S. economy grew by 4.1% during the third quarter.