Hyundai Sales Expected to Rise 18% in December, Lead Industry

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Sales of cars and light trucks in December are expected to be enough to pull U.S. sales to an all-time annual high. Those sales are expected to rise 13.1% to 1.7 million, paced by a sharp increase of 18.1% in sales from Hyundai-Kia, taking its sales to 130,000, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB).

Sales of cars by the four largest manufacturers in the United States are expected to be modest compared to the industry average. General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) sales, which include Chevy, Cadillac, GMC and Buick, are forecast to rise 8.9% to 299,000. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) sales, which include Lincoln and Ford, should rise 11.2% to 244,000, according to KBB, barely ahead of Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) 242,000, up 12.5%. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU), the brands of which are Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Fiat, should continue rapid growth as its sales rise 15.4% to 223,000.

KBB expectations:

New-vehicle sales are expected to increase 13 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.7 million units in December 2015, resulting in an estimated 18 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book, the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. December will cap the biggest year of U.S. new-car sales that the industry has ever seen, with total light vehicle sales of roughly 17.5 million, representing a 6.1 percent jump from 2014 totals. The previous high was 17.35 million units in 2000.

This level may be challenged next year by a weak economy, higher interest rates and a market in which more and more people own new cars and are, therefore, likely to be out of the market for a few years. KBB experts support this point of view:

There are several factors that could disrupt the new-car sales momentum, including rising interest rates, an increasing supply of off-lease units that could weaken used-car prices, and increasing manufacturer incentive spending that Kelley Blue Book has seen in recent months, which could be representative of a slowdown in natural consumer demand.

Why look ahead when the present is so pleasant?