Kelley predicts year-over-year sales to increase 9.8 percent

(December 24, 2014) IRVINE, Calif. — New-vehicle sales are expected to increase 9.8 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.49 million units, resulting in an estimated 16.7 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book

"While some vehicle sales may have been pulled forward during the start of holiday shopping in November, December sales remain strong with nearly double-digit growth expected for the industry," said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. 

"December is typically one of the biggest months of the year for new-car sales, as many dealers and automakers try to surpass annual sales targets."

Total sales for major manufacturers in 2014 are expected to total approximately 16,470,000 units, representing a 5.8 percent increase from last year, making this the best year for auto sales since 2006.  Looking forward to 2015, sales should continue to improve, but at a slower rate.  The Kelley Blue Book new-car sales forecast for next year calls for sales of 16.9 million units, or a 2.6 percent year-over-year increase and the highest sales total in a decade.

Key highlights for estimated December 2014 sales forecast:

    • In December, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to hit 1,490,000 units, up 9.8 percent from December 2013 and up 14.7 percent from November 2014.

    • The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for December 2014 is estimated to be 16.7 million, up from 15.4 million in December 2013 and down from 17.1 million in November 2014.

    • Retail sales are expected to account for 86 percent of volume in December 2014, up from 85 percent in December 2013.

Fiat Chrysler is set to cap an extraordinary year with another month of double-digit growth, which would be the 10th time this year.  Fueled by demand for Jeep and Ram products, the manufacturer stands to end the year with more than 2 million sales and 16.2 percent sales growth, increasing market share by more than a full percentage point.

Toyota also should post a lift in December with expected growth of 11.1 percent.  Toyota has had a quietly solid year with strength in line with the industry, but it currently has two of the top three selling cars with its Camry and Corolla, which are up 5 and 11 percent respectively this year. 

"Full-size trucks should experience a normal seasonal spike in December, which is aided by gas prices at a five-year low," said Gutierrez.  "As the all-new Ford F-Series begins to make its way to dealerships, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler stand to gain the most sales in December.  Even though the F-Series is down 1.4 percent on the year, the segment is expected to grow 6.7 percent this year and top 2 million units for the first time since 2007."     

For the second year in a row, the compact SUV/crossover category is the fastest growing segment in the industry and should continue to lead the way in December.  Most entries in the segment are enjoying double-digit strength as the segment should climb 15.3 percent this year, marking the fourth year in a row above 15 percent growth.