CARY, N.C. -
Depending on whose forecast you subscribe to, new-vehicle sales this month may end up being the highest November has ever seen.
And the used-car market? Well, count on it to reach at least 2.7 million sales and probably more, if projections from Edmunds.com and TrueCar hold firm.
Edmunds is forecasting 2.77 million used sales for the month, which would results in a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 38.5 million. A month ago, there were 3.17 million used sales, with the SAAR at 37.9 million, according to Edmunds.
Over at TrueCar, analysts forecasted that November used sales could approach 2.71 million units, beating year-ago figures by 1 percent.
On the new-car side, TrueCar is predicting 1.35 million sales (including retail and fleet), which would be good for the best November ever. That would result in a total new-car SAAR of 18.6 million, a 2015 high. A year ago, the SAAR was 17.1 million, according to TrueCar.
“This continues to be a standout year for the industry, with November sales likely setting a monthly record,” Eric Lyman, TrueCar’s vice president of industry insights, said in an analysis. “Consumers are excited about Black Friday promotions and these month-long events appear to be resonating with car buyers. Brands that advertised early, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Jeep and Ram, are expected to outperform the industry.”
The forecast put together by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive has the total new-car sales figure close to 1.3 million for November and retail near 1.1 million, even with “a couple of calendar curveballs” that impacted the sales tally.
LMC also bumped its annual forecast for total new-car sales this year from 17.3 million to 17.5 million.
“U.S. auto sales are now clearly on the path to set a record in 2015, with volume we haven’t seen in 15 years,” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, said in an analysis. “Even with the strong possibility for the Fed to increase interest rates, growth should continue into 2016, with sales expected to reach 17.8 million units.”
For November, Kelley Blue Book has a similar forecast (1.3 million sales for the month, with a 17.8 million SAAR) and pointed out the expected boost from Black Friday, but its analysis emphasizes the incentive spending that’s going on.
“Black Friday deals on vehicles have grown in popularity in recent years, and should be a big contributor to this month’s sales results,” KBB analyst Tim Fleming said in the report. “However, industry incentive spending has been on the rise in recent months, topping $3,000 on average since July 2015, so we are carefully watching to see whether consumer demand can sustain such high sales levels without elevated manufacturer spending.”
KBB’s report also notes the “calendar quirk” (two fewer selling days year-over-year) which it says leads to November remaining static year-ago figures. However, KBB says the 1.3 million sales it is forecasting would be the best November since 2011. Not to mention, the 17.4 million total new sales for 2015 it is projecting would be a best-ever year.
As for Edmunds, it pinpoints the November sum at more than 1.33 million, with the estimated SAAR at 18.3 million. If that happens, the company says, each would be a November record.
Again, Black Friday could be a big reason why, Edmunds director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell explains.
“Not even a decade ago, November was a notoriously slow sales month, and it typically ranked as the third worst month for sales in the calendar year. But in recent years, car dealers have joined other retailers to embrace Black Friday as a big sales driver,” Caldwell said.
“Since 2010, November has delivered one of the three best SAARs in each year, and last year, Thanksgiving weekend accounted for twice as many sales as any other weekend in November,” she added. “We expect to see both trends continue this year.”