An estimated 13.6 million new cars and trucks will be sold in 2012, according to a new auto sales forecast released today by Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information. The forecast anticipates a solid increase over 2011 new car sales, which could come in as high as 12.8 million vehicles when December comes to a close.
“With annual sales still far below the level achieved prior to the last recession, there’s plenty of indication that pent-up demand is far from spent,” says Edmunds.com Chief Economist Dr. Lacey Plache. “Improved selection and loosening credit conditions are helping to entice the millions of buyers that are waiting to jump back into the market.”
From January until April, the industry will see the tail end of the current “mini-bubble” of auto sales generated by car buyers who steered away from high prices and poor selection at dealer lots last summer following the Japanese earthquake. Of those months, sales are likely to peak in March, a popular car-buying month.
At that point, seasonal factors will resume as a key influence on sales in 2012, resulting in more volatile sales on a monthly basis as opposed to the flat line monthly sales that we saw this year from May through November. Specifically, next summer’s sales will be influenced in May by graduation-related purchases and again in August by the summer sell-down of current year models, then popular year-end sales events should continue to keep the recent trend of strong November and December sales performances well intact.
Next year won’t be without obstacles, though. Dr. Plache says that the continued slow pace of the economic recovery and uncertainty in the months leading up to the U.S. Presidential election may constrain sales growth. Threats of a European recession and a Chinese economic slowdown will also pose a risk to growth in the auto market, and if these or other negative events shake the marketplace, new vehicle sales momentum could weaken.
To read Edmunds.com’s full 2012 forecast, please visit http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/commentary/edmundscom-2012-auto-sales-forecast-136-million.html.
Before the calendar turns to 2012, automakers are aiming for a strong finish this year. An analysis of early December sales by Edmunds.com Vice Chairman Jeremy Anwyl indicates that December will wrap up the year on a high note. Mr. Anwyl’s early-December analysis can be found at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/commentary/first-look-at-december-sales.html.
About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web’s highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.