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January Sales Look Good for the Coming Year

Posted: 01/23/2011 - 12:54 AM ET

According to predictions by J.D. Power and Associates, auto sales are on track for January to exceed those from a year ago with retail sales overcoming the slight dip in fleet demand.

Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting, quoted in a report by Lauren Abdel-Razzaq for Automotive News said, "Typically January is a weak month because of the push to end the year on a high note, but the volume and selling rate has been slightly higher than average. It's a good signal for where the year is going."

J.D. Power forecast retail sales for this year at 10.5 million units and moved total vehicle sales to 13 million rather than the previously estimated 12.8 million. If the estimates are correct, they represent as 12 percent increase over the 11.6 million units moved in 2010.

New light-vehicle sales are expected to climb 23 percent over last year to 632,100 units. The seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate for January should reach 10 million units, 2 million about January 2010, but down from the 10.9 estimate in December.

Total vehicle sales for the month are expected to run to 794,500, up 14 percent from 2010. Fleet sales will account for approximately 20 percent of that total. CEO Jeremy Anwyl also released his sales estimates on his blog, "Just to Clarify." Anywl wrote, "Last January saw unusual levels for restocking and possibly local governments ordering new fleet vehicles with stimulus dollars. So I don't think 25 [percent] is something we will repeat anytime soon. But 17 [percent] seems low, as fleet sales are typically front loaded with a new year." He anticipates total vehicle sales for the month at 702,000 or a SAAR of 10.6 million.

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