December auto sales help boost full-year tally in U.S.

U.S. auto sales for the month of December are expected to help close the year on a high note, according to a forecast by Edmunds.

The car shopping and information platform business has predicted that 1,587,640 new cars and trucks will be sold during this time, representing an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.7 million.

The estimate reflects a 14 per cent increase in sales from the previous month, and a 5.8 percent decrease from December 2016 — a record month.

“Auto sales got off to a sluggish start in 2017 but managed to finish in a fairly decent place,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis. “Even though December sales were down year over year, we expect it to be the highest volume month of 2017. Shopper traffic to dealerships really picks up once we get on the other side of the Christmas holiday as automakers pull out all the stops to eke out every last sale before the end of the year.”

Edmunds believes the sales year will close with a total of 17.2 million new vehicles for 2017.

“Sales are still strong historically, but 2017 will mark the first down year for the auto industry since 2009,” said Caldwell. “With sales tapering off, we could be in for a high-stakes incentive war in 2018 as automakers and dealers fight for consumers in a smaller and highly saturated market.”

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