Edmunds.com is forecasting the sale of 1,629,011 new cars and trucks in December. If realized, the prediction puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) at 17.7 million, an 18.5% increase from the same time last year.
Based on this forecast, Edmunds.com is projecting a new annual record of 17,480,294 new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. market in 2016, a 0.03% increase from last year’s record.
“While December sales are tracking to finish lower than they did last year, dealers and automakers are hustling to squeeze out just enough units to set an annual record,” said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds.com senior analyst. “It’s safe to say that the final week of the year will decide whether 2016 will make automotive history. It’s shaping up to be a true photo finish.”
This final week, the firm noted, is traditionally the single busiest week of the year. This year, the firm projects that new car sales during the final week of December will be 72% higher than the averages seen during the previous three weeks of the month.
By Edmunds’ estimates, retail SAAR will come in at 15 million in December, with fleet transactions accounting for 15.2% of total sales. On the used-car front, 2.6 million used cars will be sold in December, for a SAAR of 38.2 million. The firm also believes GM, Toyota and Ford will be the top-selling brands with market share of 18.4%, 14.5% and 14.3%, respectively, according to Edmunds.