Auto Dealers’ Best December in Five Years [View all]
By David Welch and Mark Clothier - Tue Jan 03 16:48:28 GMT 2012
U.S. consumers, who are more confident than they have been in eight months, were lured to auto showrooms by holiday discounts and may have pushed car sales to the second fastest pace in more than two years.
“From Thanksgiving on, they’ve been very aggressive,” Bob Tasca, whose family owns Ford, Lincoln, Mazda and Volvo dealerships in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, said of automaker discounts. “We’ve had the best deals of the year.” Tasca said he expects his best December in five years.
Light-vehicle sales in December, set for release tomorrow, may have run at a 13.4 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAARTOTL), the average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, up from the 12.5 million pace a year earlier. While the rate may trail the 13.6 million seasonally adjusted pace in November, typically a slow sales month, the number of units sold increased in December, according to the average of five estimates.
Consumer confidence reached an eight-month high in December, according to the Conference Board, as carmakers aired holiday ads and continued promotions begun in late November, which led to the highest seasonally adjusted rate of the year. Campaigns like General Motors Co. (GM)’s “Chevy’s Giving More,” featuring Santa Claus as a car salesman, brought consumers into showrooms seeking year-end deals.