Deck the halls … and clear out the garage. December is normally one of the weaker months of the year when it comes to car sales, consumers typically focusing on gifts small enough to fit under the tree. But preliminary signs suggest that, this year, recession weary buyers are spending big, with car sales “significantly beating expectations,” according to J.D. Power and Associates.
Through the first two weeks of the month, dealers tracked by the California-based research firm report that December could, in fact, bring the best retail sales numbers of 2010, an annualized sales rate of 10.8 million.
Noting that, “Retail transactions are the most accurate measurement of true underlying consumer demand for new vehicles,” Power analysts said that if trends hold, December retail sales will come in at 936,300 cars, trucks and crossovers, a 19% increase from year-ago levels. That would be a “robust finish for 2010,” according to Jeff Schuster, Power’s executive director of global forecasting.
“Even with the possibility that sales in the third week of December may be affected by the recent winter storms, the strength in sales during the second week is expected to continue through the rest of the month,” said Schuster. “As a result, it appears that 2010 will end on a high note.”