New light vehicle retail sales for the month of November are expected to reach their highest level since 2001, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive – projected to top 1.1 million units, a 5.5% increase on a selling-day adjusted basis compared to November 2013.
On top of that, the retail seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) in November is expected to reach 13.5 million units, some 200,000 units stronger compared to the same month last year, noted John Humphrey, senior VP with the global automotive practice at J.D. Power.
"The industry continues to demonstrate strong sales growth, which is exceptional considering that November is currently on pace to record the highest average customer-facing transaction prices ever," he added.
Through November 16, J.D. Power and LMC’s data indicates retail transaction prices are averaging $30,874, which is $165 more than the previous record of $30,709 set in October this year.
Combined record transaction prices with strong new-vehicle retail sales has November on pace for a record month for consumer spending on new vehicle at $33.3 billion, which is $1.1 billion more than the previous record for the month of November set in 2013, the firms said.
J.D. Power is also predicting that over 238,000 new light vehicles will be sold over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which would make it the second-highest-volume holiday weekend of 2014.
More broadly, U.S. total light-vehicle sales are expected to exceed 1.26 million units in November – up 5% compared to November 2013 – while LMC indicates that total U.S. light-vehicle retail sales for the year should hold at 16.4 million units.
Growth is currently expected to continue in 2015, but at a slower pace, noted Jeff Schuster, LMC’s senior VP of forecasting.
"Looking forward, downward pressure has given way to upside momentum, with a stronger economy, significant new model activity and low gas prices creating an opportunity for the light-vehicle market to hit 17 million units in 2015,” he explained.
As a result of all that, North American light vehicle production through October remains strong, holding at 14.3 million units, a 5% increase from the same period in 2013. LMC is also increasing its North American production forecast for 2014 to 16.9 million units, up from 16.8 million units last month; a 5% increase from the 16.2 million units in 2013.
North American production in 2015 is expected to eclipse the 17 million-unit mark, with capacity utilization continuing to run at or above the 90% level, the firm added.