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Auto Sales Projection For 2011: December Was Good, 2011 Will Be Even Better

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On: Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 10:22AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Auto Sales Projection For 2011: December Was Good, 2011 Will Be Even Better

Was there a new car sitting in your driveway on Christmas morning with a big red bow? If so, you weren’t alone. December auto sales figures are projected to be the third straight month to hold above a total 12 million sold for the year. No one is popping the champagne cork just yet, but if sales keep on this pace, experts predict a very good 2011.

“That's a long way from the 16 million and 17 million sales rates that we experienced for the better part of this decade. But we're coming out of 2010 on an upswing and I think this bodes well for 2011,” so says Ford Motor sales analyst George Pipas.

Analysts are looking at the increase in retail sales as a positive indicator for auto sales. Nineteen percent of the auto sales for December should come from fleet and rental sales. That’s just slightly below the average of 20.4 %, but still steady. This is according to figures compiled by TrueCar.com.

“It's slowly evolving,” Morningstar analyst David Whiston said of the recovery. “You did just see the retail (annualized sales rate) creep up. It's not like it shot up half a million units in one month. It's going to be gradual.”

TrueCar.com has crunched more numbers and sees that General Motors might post a December sales gain of 1.9% while Ford might post a 6.3% increase over numbers from last December. On the flip side of those positive numbers, Toyota Motors is looking at an 11.4% drop for December. Whiston points to the company “still reeling from its massive recalls earlier this year, and it may take a few years to refurbish its image.”

As we look back to 2010, we can compare sales figures from years past. Between 2000 and 2007, U.S. light vehicle sales averaged 16.8 million a year. Then the economy tanked and bankruptcies struck GM and Chrysler. As a result, auto sales plummeted to 13.2 million in 2008 and to 10.4 million in 2009. Those were the slowest amount of sales in 27 years.

If there is one event that may have put a damper on December auto sales figures it would be the blizzards that slammed into the east coast the last week of the month, disabling would-be buyers from getting into the dealerships to take advantage of some of the great end-of-the-year sales that were offered by many automakers.


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