Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, 05:13 PM UPDATED 5:13 PMBy Sarah Rubenoff
CHICAGO and IRVINE, Calif. -
As the first month of the new year draws to a close analysts are predicting January’s SAAR will be the highest seen for the month since 2007, easily reaching pre-recession levels.
The January forecast translates into a SAAR of 15.7 million new-car sales, up 2.1 percent from December 2013 and up 3.3 percent over January 2013, according to Cars.com.
The site is predicting new light vehicle sales in the U.S. (including fleet) to come in at 1.05 units, up .03 percent from January 2013 and down 22.9 percent from December.
"Industry sales started the year out on a relatively positive note and would have been even better if it wasn't for the inclement weather negatively impacting car shopping in several major markets" said Jesse Toprak, chief analyst for Cars.com. "We expect the total sales to grow by nearly 900,000 units (5.7 percent) in 2014, fueled by new products, an improved macro-economic landscape, and attractive lease and finance specials."
Judging by the year’s healthy start for sales, Cars.com analyts’ full-year forecast sits at 16.5 million units.
Kelley Blue Book is also predicting similar results.
KBB analysts expect new-vehicle sales to improve 1.6 percent year-over-year in January, coming to a total of 1.06 million units.
This translates to a SAAR of 15.9 million new-vehicle sales for 2014.
At 15.9 million, this would be the highest recorded January SAAR since 2007, when it was 16.4 million, according to KBB data.
Though the SAAR is hitting pre-recession levels, KBB pointed out the dip from December is due mostly to seasonality.
“January is typically the weakest sales month of the year as many consumers take advantage of holiday deals in December. However, winter storms also could impact new-vehicle sales this month, as much of the country deals with historically cold weather and snowstorms,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Early estimates indicate fleet sales will be down, as well.”