January new-vehicle sales expected to be better than 2018

(January 26, 2019) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Edmunds forecasts that 1,169,804 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in January for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.2 million. This reflects a 28.1 percent decrease in sales from December, but a 1.3 percent increase from January 2018.

"January's sales strength shows car shoppers are still feeling optimistic, even in the midst of the government shutdown and talk of a slowing economy," said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds' manager of industry analysis.

"But despite this positive start, January is such a slow sales month that it doesn't carry much weight when it comes to predicting the health of the auto market for the full year."

Edmunds estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 13.9 million vehicles in January 2019, with fleet transactions accounting for 19.7 percent of total sales. An estimated 3.1 million used vehicles will be sold in January 2019, for a SAAR of 39.2 million (compared to 2.7 million — or a SAAR of 39.7 million — in December).