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Sales sprint to SAAR's year-end finish line

December 21, 2012
With 40 percent of December’s new-vehicle sales expected to occur during the last eight days of the month, the month’s sales tallies will be hard to call before the dust settles. But that follows a recent pattern.
November was a tough month to call, sales wise, what with Hurricane Sandy and her potential to either lift or drag sales — or a bit of both — and sales event over the Thanksgiving weekend to consider.
But it is worth noting that so far retail sales are holding up well. The current pace and historical pattern point to retail sales this month of about 1.12 million units and a 12.6 million. That compares with unit sales of about 965,000 and a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 13.0 million last month.
If a fleet mix of about 18 percent is projected, then December will end with total sales of about 1.36 million and a SAAR of 15.3 million. This compares to 1.14 million units and SAAR of 15.5 million after November. (This fleet number is a bit tough to call as December typically is about 1 percent higher than November, but last month was well below normal at 15.8 percent, so a small rebound in December is assumed.)
An examination of retail share shows GM and BMW are up quite a bit over last month while Nissan, the South Korean makes and Honda were down some. The numbers for other automakers look stable.