Despite global recession and the knock-on effect of the September 11 atrocities, US auto sales are set to reach their second highest level ever, reports global marketing information specialist J D Power and Associates.

According to JDP, December sales of light vehicles are likely to reach around 14 million units on an annualized basis, down sharply from the rate of 18 million vehicles for the first eleven months of this year.

But based on transaction data from over 5,000 participating dealers, this will still be enough to grab the all-time second place with a predicted sales total of 16.95 million vehicles, just overtaking the 16.9 million sold in 1999.

Says JDP chief economist Bob Schnorbus: “It's still a solid finish to a very strong year. Of course incentives such as zero-percent financing have had a huge positive impact on new vehicle sales in the last quarter. In the next few months, as auto makers scale back on incentives, we'll see a slight correction, but I expect 2002 to be another strong year.”

Actual sales for December (and 2001 as a whole) will be reported January 3.

News source: Wall Street Journal