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Strong December New-Car Sales To Cap Fantastic Year Of Auto Industry Recovery



Strong December New-Car Sales To Cap Fantastic Year Of Auto Industry Recovery

Kelley Blue Book Expects 1.35 Million Units Sold in December; Honda to
Continue Sales Gains

PR Newswire

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 27, 2012

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With annual year-end clearance
events in full swing, new-car sales are expected to surpass 1.35 million units
in December, pushing the industry's closely followed seasonally adjusted
annual rate (SAAR) to 15.2 million units, according to Kelley Blue Book,
www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new and used car information. 

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121108/LA08161LOGO)

"At 15.2 million SAAR, new-car sales will come in below the 15.5 million units
pace set in November, when replacement demand from buyers in the Northeast
region drove sales beyond seasonal expectations," said Alec Gutierrez, senior
market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book.  "Our analysts
believe most buyers seeking a replacement for a vehicle damaged or destroyed
by Superstorm Sandy already found the new or used car they needed in
November.  There was some lingering replacement demand coming from New York
and New Jersey through the first week of December, but as the month went on,
the sales pace in these states returned to pre-storm levels." 

After a strong November and December, the final sales tally for 2012 should
approach 14.5 million units overall.  This tally would amount to a more than
13 percent year-over-year increase and the third consecutive year of
double-digit auto sales gains.  While incremental sales growth will continue
in 2013, Kelley Blue Book does not expect to see a fourth consecutive year of
double-digit sales gains. 

With employment and consumer confidence expected to improve only modestly next
year, Kelley Blue Book expects sales growth will come at a slower pace from
this point forward.  While modest economic growth will help keep sales stable
in 2013, Kelley Blue Book expects to see as many as 250,000 to 300,000
additional sales from consumers who will arrive at the end of their lease term
next year.  Although most signs point to additional sales growth in 2013,
Kelley Blue Book will keep a close eye on the 'Fiscal Cliff' discussion, as a
tax increase for middle-income households could slow sales growth through next
year and beyond.

Honda Continues Sales Gain Lead in December
Similar to the past several months, Kelley Blue Book expects Honda and
Volkswagen to continue to lead industry sales gains on a year-over-year
basis. 

"Honda has benefitted from its redesigned CR-V, Accord and Civic through most
of this year, and Kelley Blue Book expects Honda's impressive sales momentum
to continue into 2013," said Gutierrez.  "Honda has performed a remarkable
turnaround in the last year after losing market share in 2011 due to the
tsunami and earthquake in Japan, when its market share dipped to 9 percent." 

So far this year, Honda has maintained 9.8 percent market share and has been
trending positively during the past several months.  In fact, Kelley Blue Book
expects Honda's market share to surpass 10 percent in December, and analysts
expect that the company likely will remain above 10 percent market share in
2013, thanks to the strength of its latest redesigns. 

Honda and Volkswagen Lead Industry Gains
                           Sales Volume              Market Share
Manufacturer               Dec-12    Dec-11    YOY%  Dec-12 Dec-11 YOY
General Motors             235,300   234,351   0.4%  17.4%  18.8%  -1.4%
Ford Motor Company         210,100   209,447   0.3%  15.6%  16.8%  -1.3%
Toyota Motor Company       192,600   178,131   8.1%  14.3%  14.3%  -0.1%
Chrysler Group             146,200   138,019   5.9%  10.8%  11.1%  -0.3%
American Honda             137,200   105,230   30.4% 10.2%  8.5%   1.7%
Nissan North America       101,000   100,927   0.1%  7.5%   8.1%   -0.6%
Hyundai-Kia                106,300   94,155    12.9% 7.9%   7.6%   0.3%
Volkswagen                 59,400    45,157    31.5% 4.4%   3.7%   0.8%
Total*                     1,350,000 1,243,784 8.5%  -      -      -
*Includes brands not shown

Compacts Continue to Lead Industry Gains in December
Fuel prices are now below $3.30 nationally, yet compact cars remain among the
best-selling vehicles in the country.  Last month, compact cars accounted for
nearly 15 percent of all vehicles sold in the industry, and Kelley Blue Book
anticipates market share to remain relatively steady in December. 

"Consumers will look to the refreshed 2013 Honda Civic, tried-and-true Corolla
and redesigned Ford Focus as they seek small cars in December," said
Gutierrez.  "While there are modest incentive offers available for each of
these models, they pale in comparison to the significant cash rebates
currently offered on full-size trucks and SUVs.  Consumers looking for a
full-size pickup will find thousands of dollars in rebates as General Motors,
Ford and Chrysler attempt to sell down remaining inventory prior to year-end."

Compact Cars Hold Steady Despite Falling Gas Prices
                             Sales Volume              Market Share
Segment                      Dec-12    Dec-11    YOY%  Dec-12 Dec-11 YOY
Mid-Size Car                 203,000   187,566   8.2%  15.0%  15.1%  0.0%
Compact Car                  196,300   150,878   30.1% 14.5%  12.1%  2.4%
Compact Crossover            157,400   135,382   16.3% 11.7%  10.9%  0.8%
Full-Size Pickup Truck       175,900   172,809   1.8%  13.0%  13.9%  -0.9%
Subcompact Car               47,900    46,143    3.8%  3.5%   3.7%   -0.2%
Total*                       1,350,000 1,243,784 8.5%  -      -      -
*Includes segments not shown

For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com, visit
www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or
@kelleybluebook), like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb, and get
updates on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+kbb/.

About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle
valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and
the industry.  Each week the company provides the most market-reflective
values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com, including its
famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Suggested Retail Values and Fair Purchase
Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week.  The
company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and
services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance
companies as well as governmental agencies.  KBB.com provides consumer pricing
and information on cars for sale, minivans, pickup trucks, sedan, hybrids,
electric cars, and SUVs.  Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com ranked highest in its
category for brand equity and was named Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year
by the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend^® study.  Kelley Blue Book Co. Inc. is a
wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader Group.

SOURCE Kelley Blue Book

Website: http://www.kbb.com
Contact: Joanna Pinkham, +1-949-268-3079, jpinkham@kbb.com; or Brenna
Robinson, +1-949-267-4781, berobinson@kbb.com; or Natalie Kumaratne,
+1-949-267-4770, nkumaratne@kbb.com
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