U.S. market likely to reach 13.6 million sales in 2012, Edmunds predicts image

With 2011 set to reach 12.8 million sales, analysts are predicting a better 2012, with estimated new-car sales of 13.6 million.

Increasing demand, as well as a stronger selection and improved credit conditions have determined Edmunds.com to make this forecast. “With annual sales still far below the level achieved prior to the last recession, there’s plenty of indication that pent-up demand is far from spent. Improved selection and loosening credit conditions are helping to entice the millions of buyers that are waiting to jump back into the market,” said Lacey Plache, chief economist at Edmunds.

The firm expects the first few months of the year (January through April) to be the remnants of the ongoing “mini-bubble” in the car market. This bubble represents buyers who delayed purchases last summer after the Japanese earthquake. The peak of this period will be March, after which seasonality will come into play.

Edmunds expects the market to be more volatile that this year from May through November, with graduation-related purchases to boost May sales and summer sell-downs of current model-year cars increasing August deliveries. For November and December, Edmunds forecasts solid sales, as usual in the final two months of the year.