JD Power-LMC forecasts December auto sales up 14 percent

DETROIT — Auto sales are expected to end the year strongly, increasing 14 percent in December for the second highest monthly selling rate as consumers shake off fears about economic uncertainty, consultants J.D. Power & Associates and LMC Automotive said on Thursday.

LMC also boosted its 2012 forecast for total new light-vehicle sales in the United States to 14.5 million vehicles from 14.4 million. That would be an increase of 13.3 percent from 2011.

The auto industry has been steadily recovering since 2009, when U.S. sales hit a 28-year low of 10.4 million vehicles.

For December, they see sales rising 14 percent to almost 1.36 million vehicles and an annual selling rate in the month of 15.3 million vehicles, which would trail only November’s 15.54 million rate as the strongest of the year.

“The U.S. light-vehicle sales market continues to be a bright spot in the tremulous global environment,” LMC Senior Vice President Jeff Schuster said in a statement.