Forecast: December Sales Set to Reach 10-Year High

The latest WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to sell 1.51 million light vehicles this month, equating to a 16.95 million-unit SAAR.

John Sousanis, Director, Information Content

December 19, 2014

2 Min Read
Forecast: December Sales Set to Reach 10-Year High

A WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to sell 1.51 million light vehicles in December, which would be the second-highest December sales tally since at least 1980, just behind December 2004’s 1.53 million.

The resulting daily sales rate of just over 58,000 units over 26 days represents a 7.3% improvement from same-month year-ago (25 days) and a 12.1% month-to-month gain on November (25 days). The forecast puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales at 16.95 million-units, within a hair of breaking the 17 million mark for two consecutive months for the first time since June and July 2005.

The industry reached a 17.1 million SAAR in November.

Factoring into WardsAuto’s forecast are positive economic data from November, including a continued rise in hourly earnings, the 5.8% unemployment rate (a 6-year low) and 321,000 new non-farm jobs added during the month, all according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. November also marked the fourth consecutive month of rising consumer confidence, according to the Thomson Reuters University of Michigan Survey of Consumers.

Automakers finished November with 3.62 million units in inventory, equating to a 70 days’ supply going into December. However, two months of above-trend sales is expected to leave the industry with a 58 days’ supply going into the new year.

WardsAuto is forecasting an 8.0% year-over-year rise in Detroit Three daily sales – accounting for a combined 44.9% of industry LV volume.

The gain comes on the strength of an expected 18.6% DSR jump for FCA US, on forecast volume sales of 197,000 LVs and a 13.1% market share. General Motors is forecast to sell nearly 262,000 LVs, a 9.4% DSR boost over year-ago, equating to a 17.4% share.

Ford, still controlling inventory of its F-150 pickups, is expected to see its daily sales fall 1.6% below year-ago on total LV deliveries of 217,000 and a 14.5% market share.

All other automakers are projected to outpace same-month year-ago sales.

Asian automakers are expected to improve on year-ago DSR by 6.9%. Strong fleet sales should help Toyota should finish second overall in December, with forecast deliveries of 220,545 units lifting the automaker’s DSR 11.1% over year-ago, good for a 14.6% share. Strong Civic and Accord sales should push Honda’s DSR 3.9% over year-ago and give the company 9.7% of the month’s LV market.

Helped by strong luxury-segment sales across the board, and competition between Mercedes and BMW for annual sales supremacy, European-brand daily sales will rise 4% over strong year-ago results, on 160,000 deliveries, accounting for 10.5% of the market.

At forecast levels, full-year 2014 LV sales would finish at 16.45 million units, up 5.9% from 2013.

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About the Author(s)

John Sousanis

Director, Information Content, WardsAuto

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