December Car Sales Expected to Jump 10 Percent, Highest Number In Five Years

Dec 24, 2012 09:28 AM EST | Matt Mercuro is reporting that for the month of December, approximately 1,370,658 cars were sold in the U.S. This number is up 10.3 percent compared to December 2011 and 19.9 percent compared to last month.

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Retail sales are also up 9.2 percent in December compared to last year, and 23.6 percent compared to November.

"December continues the trend of exceptional sales due to strong manufacturer incentives, specifically lease and finance deals, and the demand due to Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast," said Jesse Toprak , senior analyst for "Even with the fiscal cliff still needing to be resolved, automakers can expect a strong year for new car sales in 2013."

The study included the approximate number of vehicles sold in December, with GM leading the way with 236,374 vehicles sold. This is a 26.7 percent increase compared to last year. Ford is on track to sell 214,978 vehicles this month, a 21.4 percent increase. based its forecast on "actual transaction data" which is refined by other current and historical factors that impact sales numbers. Other factors include inventory, incentives, fuel prices, and economic data.

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All used car sales figures include sales from franchise dealerships, private party sales, and independent dealerships.

"This year, automakers were able to curb their incentive spending while still improving sales," said Kristen Andersson, analyst for "The average incentive spending per unit for 2012 was at its lowest levels since 2002 when auto sales were at 16.8 million."

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