U.S. retail sales grow 11 percent in the first half of November image

New-vehicle retail sales are recording growth through the first half of November, according to a monthly sales forecast by J.D. Power and Associates.

November retail sales are projected to reach 791,900 units, which represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 11.3 million units. It’s the highest monthly selling rate in three and a half years.

“Retail light-vehicle sales in November are outperforming expectations on a month-to-date basis, providing good news as 2011 comes to a close and the focus starts to shift to 2012,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. “The improving performance of the past three months suggests that the current momentum, primarily driven by replacement demand and improvements in vehicle availability, is not an aberration.”

Total light-vehicle sales in November are expected to come in at 975,600 units, up 8 percent than in November 2010. Fleet sales are expected to decrease by 6 percent compared with November 2010, accounting for 19 percent of total sales.

In light of the good October and November results, LMC Automotive is increasing its forecast for 2011 to 12.7 million units (from 12.6 million units) for total light-vehicle sales and to 10.3 million units (from 10.2 million units) for retail light-vehicle sales. LMC Automotive is maintaining its forecast for 2012 at 13.8 million units for total light-vehicle sales and 11.2 million units for retail light-vehicle sales.