Kelley Blue Book expects new car sales to drop 7 percent

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for December new car sales is forecasted to fall 7 percent year-over-year to 17.6 million vehicles, according to Kelley Blue Book.

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Retail sales are expected to reach 82.4 percent of December’s volume, and new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, is predicted to hit 1,570,000 units.

In December 2016, SAAR reached 18.1 million and 17.3 million in November 2017.

Last year was the seventh consecutive year of annual increases and set a record.

“December should be the biggest sales month of the year, and despite our expectations for significant year-over-year declines, the projected SAAR of 17.6 million would be the third highest of the year,” Tim Fleming, an analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said. “It’s also important to remember that December 2016 was the strongest month in nearly 15 years, fueled by heavy incentives and year-end sales objectives. We’re still expecting a year-end sales push from many manufacturers, which will translate into incentives and discounting, but since the sales objectives should be reduced from last year’s peak, we are projecting slower sales than last December.”

Every major automaker recorded a decline for December.

Ford Motor Co. had the best month, decreasing only 2.4 percent, while Fiat Chrysler declined the most, 11.7 percent.