J.D. Power forecasts U.S. auto sales will rise 14 percent in December image

New car sales in the U.S. are expected to increase by up to 14 percent in December, according to forecasts from J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive.

According to the two firms, December’s seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate will be 15.3 million, just under the 15.4 million posted in November. If their forecasts prove accurate, total U.S. light-vehicle sales for 2012 would be 14.5 million.

“The U.S. light-vehicle sales market continues to be a bright spot in the tremulous global environment. The only major roadblock ahead for the U.S. market is the fiscal cliff. Assuming that hurdle is cleared, 2013 is one step closer to a stable and sustainable growth rate for autos, with volume above the 15 million unit mark,” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, said in a statement.

The Obama administration is currently negotiating with lawmakers over the fiscal cliff, which refers to tax increases and government spending cuts that will take effect at the end of this year. J.D. Power forecasts retail sales of 1,152,500 units in December, corresponding to a retail selling rate of 12.2 million units, down from 13.2 million in November but up from 11.3 million in December 2011.