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January could be good start for auto sales

Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:27:06 AM

It is a whole new year for automotive sales, and predictions from industry analysts paint a relatively positive image for January's sales figures.

It appears that more buyers will be interested in auto financing, as demand for new vehicles remains strong into January. According to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, the monthly sales forecast expects new-vehicle retail sales to hit 847,400, up 3 percent year-over-year.

"We are forecasting January 2014 to have the strongest level of retail sales for a January since 2004, and transaction prices will be the highest on record for the month of January," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. "In combination, the strong sales rate and record transaction prices are expected to result in record levels of consumer spending for the sector."

Overall, January's numbers so far are in line with what is expected - a slight increase compared to 2013's numbers.

However, one industry expert isn't so positive about automotive sales. According to Michael Sivak, research professor with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the number of American households without a vehicle has increased yearly since 2007. That could potentially mean that demand for vehicles has already peaked. He added that many factors play a role, including quality public transportation and price of fuel.