The automotive industry appears to have capped off an excellent 2014 for new-vehicle sales. Automakers can thank Santa Claus for many of the sales this holiday season, among other favorable factors.
"Many factors have helped car sales recently," Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell said in a press release. "Low gas prices, a record stock market and the improving economy are making people feel more financially comfortable, and even the weather has cooperated, for the most part."
Let's look at how December new-vehicle sales numbers are expected to shake out, as well as what's in store for 2015.
Edmunds predicted that more than 1.5 million new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in December, when all is said and done. That's a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.8 million and an 11.4% jump over last December's sales. (It should be noted that this month has 26 selling days versus 25 for December 2013.)
In terms of sales increases, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) is expected to lead the industry with a nearly 25% jump in sales, year over year, for December. The only other double-digit sales gains are predicted to come from General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Toyota, at 13.9% and 15.1%, respectively.
Ford (NYSE:F) and Honda are expected to bring up the rear of the group of major automakers, with this month's sales expected to increase by only 3.8% and 3.5%, respectively, from December 2013. While Ford is not posting strong year-over-year sales increases, it is still expected to outpace Toyota for the second-highest total sales volume in December, trailing only General Motors.
Edmunds' forecast for December sales would bring U.S. light-vehicle sales to 16.5 million for the full year, which would mark a 6% gain over 2013. In addition to surging sales of mass-market vehicles, it appears luxury spending is moving higher at an even faster rate. Edmunds expects spending on new luxury cars to jump from $90.8 billion in 2013 to roughly $100 billion for 2014.
To put it simply, it's a good time to sell vehicles. Will these trends continue in 2015, or is the market poised for a slowdown with sales returning to pre-recession levels?
Keep on keeping on
John Krafcik, president of TrueCar, predicted in a press release that the good times are here to stay, at least for now: "This year has been remarkable in terms of growth and revenue coming from big gains in pickup, utility and luxury vehicle sales. We think 2015 will be even better."
How much better, you ask? TrueCar expects sales of new cars and trucks to rise to 17 million units next year, which would be the highest level since 2005. TrueCar also expects new-vehicle revenue to reach $553 billion, which would be a 5% increase over this year's estimated $526 billion.
Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Ford, General Motors, and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford and Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.