U.S. Auto Sales Climb in November as Total Pace Surpasses 16 Million Units

John Humphrey

John Humphrey

Through the first half of November 2013, sales returned to a stronger pace than in September and October—which were hampered by negative external factors, including the U.S. government shutdown in October and the pull forward of Labor Day sales with two less selling days in September—according to an auto sales forecast update from J.D. Power and strategic partner LMC Automotive.

Retail new-vehicle deliveries in November are expected to reach 1.03 million units—up 4% from November 2012 on a selling-day adjusted basis*. This figure translates to a 13.0 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR), which is higher than the year-to-date level of 12.8 million units.

Fleet sales on a selling-day adjusted basis are expected to account for 16% of the sales mix in November, which is 3% lower than a year ago and consistent with the low fleet share that has held throughout 2013.

Total (retail and fleet) sales in November are expected to increase to 1.2 million units—a 3% increase from the same month in 2012. That represents a 16.1 million-unit SAAR, or a pace that is about 700,000 units stronger than the 15.4 million-unit rate in November 2012.

 New-Vehicle Average Transaction Price Rises to More than $30,000

Consumer demand for new vehicles remains strong. Our analysis indicates that the average transaction price of new vehicles has risen to $30,079—up $461 from November 2012. In combination, sales and transaction price growth means that consumers will spend 10% more on new vehicles this month than they did a year ago and nearly double the level in November 2008 during the Great Recession.

This level of spending is impressive and consistent with trends observed throughout 2013. It’s likely that total consumer spending on new vehicles in 2013 will exceed $370 billion—the highest on record and considerably above even pre-recession levels.

Improvements in the economy and consumer confidence will help drive stable growth in 2014, according to Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at our strategic partner LMC Automotive, who projects that total light-vehicle sales next year will reach 16.1 million units with retail sales estimated to rise to 13.2 million units.John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power

*The change in sales is adjusted as there are 26 selling days in November 2013 vs. 25 days in November 2012.


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