J.D. Power: Auto sales likely to be up 4% in November


U.S. auto sales are expected to rise about 4% in November from a year earlier, driven by strong discounts and higher consumer spending, industry consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said on Wednesday.

They expect average incentive spending per unit to reach $4,538 in the month, up from $4,049 last year, encouraging consumers to spend about $40.3 billion on new vehicles, up by $2.7 billion.

Rising incentives would help industry growth in November, which benefits from an additional weekend, Thomas King, senior vice president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power, said.

"With more than 200,000 sales anticipated over the holiday (Thanksgiving) weekend, manufacturers are expected to target the large number of shoppers to help clear out record levels of older model-year vehicles," King said.

The average new-vehicle retail price is expected to increase by $622 in November to $34,054, the consultants said.

They estimate total U.S. vehicle sales of about 1.44 million units in the month, with retail sales of new vehicles at 1.18 million units, up 5.2%.

Meanwhile, North American production is expected to decline nearly 4% to 16.3 million units in 2019 amid U.S.-China trade uncertainty, the consultants said, adding the overall unease was causing a pullback in investment which could turn into a "self-fulfilling recession prophecy."

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said they expect total light-vehicle sales for the year to be about 17.1 million units, a decline of 1.4% from 2018.