December sales of automobiles and light trucks in the U.S. were up slightly from last year, but failed to meet analysts’ predictions due to winter storms and some sales being pulled forward in a strong November. Nissan led gainers, up 11% while GM had the worst year to year performance, down 6%. Most automakers closed out the year with an increase.
The seasonally adjusted sales rate also came in below expectations. The SAAR fell in December to 15.4 million from November’s six-year high of 16.4 million. Last year’s SAAR for December was 15.2 million so it’s a slight improveent. Most analysts predicted a 15.6 million unit SAAR for the month. Overall, December sales were up 0.2% from last year and for the year deliveries were up 8% to a total of 15.6 million units, the best year since 2007. Car sales were up 4% while light truck sales rose 11% on the strength of CUV and large pickup sales. This is the 5th straight year of increased sales since the industry cratered at 10.4 million units in 2009.
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J.D. Power thinks it has found some more Americans who want to kiss a new fender under the mistletoe. Based on reported transactions for the first 17 days of the month, collected from 8900 dealers, J.D. Power now projects a December SAAR of 11.2m units, Reuters reports. This would be up 9 percent from a truly dismal December a year earlier, which saw a sickening SAAR of 10.3m vehicles. In eggnog-powered exuberance, J.D. Power calls the sputtering back to life “a year-end rally.” And how’s the year going to end?