January Car Sales May Stumble Following Winter Blast | Edmunds

January Car Sales May Stumble Following Winter Blast

SANTA MONICA, California — Winter weather may put a damper on January car sales, but it likely will be a temporary setback, according to Edmunds.com.

The projected sales will be a 30.2 percent decrease from December 2015, but only a 0.5 percent decrease from January 2015.

"As expected, Winter Storm Jonas limited car sales from reaching their full potential, especially for import brands, which are traditionally popular in East Coast markets," said Edmunds.com Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. "But weather factors aside, this was still a pretty good month for car sales.

"The January sales rate typically falls on the low end of the curve every year, so if historic patterns hold, we're off to a healthy start for 2016."

The winners in the January sales race are likely to be Fiat-Chrysler (with expected strong Jeep sales), Nissan and Honda.

A key question is whether truck and SUV sales will continue to dominate the monthly report. In recent months, vehicles including the Nissan Rogue, Jeep Wrangler and Chevrolet Colorado were popular with shoppers.

Low gas prices are expected to have a significant effect on car shoppers' choices, as fuel economy remains less of a concern.

The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report on Friday pegged the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline at $1.81, versus $2.04 a year ago.

Edmunds says: Sales are expected to get another boost as many manufacturers get ready to roll out Presidents' Day deals in February.

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