November auto sales expected to rise 12 percent in the U.S. image

U.S. auto sales are recovering after the damage made by Hurricane Sandy in late October and early November.

Auto analysts predict November should show a 12 percent increase from the same month last year. Auto sales this month have been rising each week, and there are signs that December will be a strong sales month to end the best year for U.S. auto sales since before the 2008-2009 economic downturn. According to a report from LMC Automotive and J.D. Power, November sales are seen at 15 million new vehicles on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis.

That would be the highest monthly sales rate of the year, exceeding the 14.94 million rate for September. The last time the U.S. sales rate reached 15 million was in February 2008 when it finished at 15.52 million, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

Total light vehicle sales for November are expected to reach 1.11 million vehicles, an increase of 2.2 percent compared to October. The average age of U.S. vehicles is about 11 years old, and the need to replace aging vehicles is one of the reason for increased auto sales this year.

“The irrepressible need and willingness of consumers to replace aging vehicles is stronger than the effects of natural disasters and fiscal turmoil both here and abroad,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive.