U.S. auto sales are expected to show a rise of 9 percent for December, capping off the best year for the industry since 2007, fueled by easier access to credit, rising home prices and pent-up demand. I will give you a complete rundown of 2012 sales in next week’s Car Pro Weekly. Major automakers will report December sales this Thursday.
U.S. consumer confidence fell to a four-month low in December on worries over the $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases that take effect unless Congress acts to stop them.
Overall, 2012 sales are expected to finish at 14.5 million vehicles, more than 13 percent higher than the previous year. It marks the third straight year that the industry has posted a double-digit sales gain.
Gains in 2013 are expected to slow to single-digit growth, with several analysts forecasting only modest improvements in U.S. consumer confidence and employment.
Kelley Blue Book said a tax increase for middle-income households could hold back sales growth through 2013 and beyond.
“Given relative strength in consumer sentiment post last month’s election – even in spite of the fiscal cliff – and improvements in labor data, we expect healthy retail demand to spur a strong month,” Barclays Capital analyst Brian Johnson said.