J.D. Power predicts sales this month will close in on 1,030,300, which would be a 4% increase from the month last year. It's also a lot stronger than the previous two months, noted Jeff Schuster, SVP of forecasting at LMC Automotive. “The sales pace in September and October was plagued by external variables that caused a lower level of demand, so the returning strength in November confirms that the underlying recovery remains intact.”
When it comes to individual brands, Edmunds.com predicts Chrysler, with a 10% increase, will have the best improvement of any brand against November, 2012 performance. The firm predicts that by contrast, Volkswagen and Audi will see a 6.6% drop -- more than any other major automaker, although it will beat everyone else versus October, with a 10.8% improvement. Edmunds sees a 7.7% improvement for GM; a 3% improvement for Ford; 7.5% for Toyota; and a 3.5% improvement for Nissan versus last year. In addition to VW and Audi, Honda will see a 1.6% decline and Hyundai and Kia will see a 1.1% slip.
In the first half of the month, the average transaction price of new vehicles is $30,079 -- $461 above the month last year, per J.D. Power. The increase in sales and transaction pricing also means that consumers will spend 10% more on new vehicles this month than last year and twice what they spent during the month in 2008.
“Consumer demand for new vehicles remains strong,” said John Humphrey, SVP of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. He said total consumer spending on new vehicles in 2013 will probably exceed $370 billion, "The highest on record and considerably above even pre-recession levels.”
Edmunds' Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell said deals are driving sales. “Car buyers are already taking advantage of advertised holiday deals, and as we plow deeper into the holiday season the table is set for 2013 to finish on a very strong note.”