New Auto Sales on Track for Near-Record Year in 2018, Edmunds Forecasts
December expected to be the second highest selling month of the year as automakers pile on holiday sales incentives

SANTA MONICA, CA — December 19, 2018 — Edmunds forecasts that 1,607,724 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in December for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.4 million. This reflects a 16 percent increase in sales from November 2018 and a 0.3 percent increase from December 2017. Edmunds experts note that December is expected to be the second-best auto sales month of the year, pushing full-year auto sales for 2018 to 17.3 million, exceeding 2017's 17.2 million vehicles.

"We've been saying all year that 2018 would be a down note for the auto industry, but it ended up defying the odds," said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds' manager of industry analysis. "Automakers are really pulling out all the stops in December to close the year on a high note, and car shoppers seem to be in a buying mood."

While 2018 is on track to go down as another solid year for the industry, Edmunds analysts caution that elevated fleet deliveries and unsustainable levels of incentives helped augment sales totals. Edmunds estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 14.6 million vehicles in December 2018, with fleet transactions accounting for 16.1 percent of total sales. An estimated 2.7 million used vehicles will be sold in December 2018, for a SAAR of 39.7 million (compared to 3.0 million — or a SAAR of 39.8 million — in November).

"Even though 2018 is ending stronger than expected, there are a lot of reasons to approach 2019 with caution," Acevedo said. "Automakers continue to rely heavily on upping fleet sales to mask eroding retail demand, and that's not a sustainable place to be. A record number of lessees returning to the market should help give dealers a boost in the New Year, but rising interest rates and vehicle costs are going to continue to give car shoppers pause and create uncertainty in the market."

SALES VOLUME FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER
Sales
Volume
December
2018 Forecast
December
2017
November
2018
Change from
December 2017
Change from
November 2018
GM* 297,572 308,539 249,000 -3.6% 19.5%
Toyota 220,041 222,974 190,423 -1.3% 15.6%
Ford 218,111 240,910 195,255 -9.5% 11.7%
Fiat Chrysler 199,560 171,946 181,310 16.1% 10.1%
Honda 146,522 149,317 120,534 -1.9% 21.6%
Nissan 129,736 138,226 110,513 -6.1% 17.4%
Hyundai/Kia 115,405 106,633 102,600 8.2% 12.5%
VW/Audi 54,991 57,258 43,871 -4.0% 25.3%
Tesla 19,336  -  -  -  -
Industry 1,607,724 1,603,129 1,385,917 0.3% 16.0%
*GM sales totals for November 2018 are estimated

**NOTE: December 2018 had 26 selling days, December 2017 had 26 and November 2018 had 25.

MARKET SHARE FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER
Market
Share
December
2018 Forecast
December
2017
November
2018
Change from
December 2017
Change from
November 2018
GM 18.5% 19.2% 18.0% -0.7% 0.5%
Toyota 13.7% 13.9% 13.7% -0.2% -0.1%
Ford 13.6% 15.0% 14.1% -1.5% -0.5%
Fiat Chrysler 12.4% 10.7% 13.1% 1.7% -0.7%
Honda 9.1% 9.3% 8.7% -0.2% 0.4%
Nissan 8.1% 8.6% 8.0% -0.6% 0.1%
Hyundai/Kia 7.2% 6.7% 7.4% 0.5% -0.2%
VW/Audi 3.4% 3.6% 3.2% -0.2% 0.3%
Tesla 1.2% - - -  -

More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in the Edmunds Industry Center at http://www.edmunds.com/industry/.

About Edmunds
Edmunds guides car shoppers online from research to purchase. With in-depth reviews of every new vehicle, shopping tips from an in-house team of experts, plus a wealth of consumer and automotive market insights, Edmunds helps millions of shoppers each month select, price and buy a car with confidence. Regarded as one of America's best workplaces by Fortune and Great Place to Work, Edmunds is based in Santa Monica, California, and has a satellite office in Detroit, Michigan. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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