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KBB Projects 15.6 Million New-Car Sales In 2013 & 16.3 Million For 2014

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2014 Jeep Compass

2014 Jeep Compass

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It's been a rip-roaring year for auto sales, and Kelley Blue Book thinks that the current trend will continue through at least 2014. The firm predicts a total of 15.63 million U.S. new-car sales in calendar year 2013, and even higher figures for next year.

KBB expects December sales stats to be strong -- right around 1.42 million units. That would bring the year to a close with about 15.63 million sales, up eight percent from 2012. 

Next year, KBB expects sales to cool a bit, but the growth trend will continue. The firm predicts 2014 sales figures to clock in around 16.3 million units, an improvement of 4.3 percent from this year.

THE BIGGEST WINNERS: PICKUPS, CROSSOVERS, CHRYSLER

As we've reported numerous times, 2013 has been the year of the pickup, thanks in no small part to the rebounding construction sector. Full-sized trucks flew out of showrooms, with sales surging about 5.2 percent above 2012.

Even more in-demand, though, were compact crossovers. KBB expects the year's biggest seller to be the Honda CR-V, trailed closely by the Ford Escape. (As of November 30, the two models were running neck-and-neck, separated by around 4,000 sales.) All told, compact crossover sales have jumped a whopping 15 percent in 2013.

On the brand front, Chrysler has been the hands-down winner. It's the only automaker to post double-digit gains in sales volume -- 10.9 percent -- and its market share has grown by 0.7 percent. According to KBB's Alec Gutierrez, that bump is due to the fashionably late Jeep Cherokee: “Finally benefitting [sic] from the introduction of its mid-size Jeep Cherokee crossover, Chrysler is filling a major void in the Jeep lineup. Demand has been building for months, and the Cherokee sold more than 10,000 units in its first full month of sales in November 2013."

LAST-MINUTE SHOPPING

KBB expects a slight uptick in sales in the latter part of December. That's because it's dealers' last chance to meet yearly sales goals, and it's also a good time to unload older models and make way for new stock. According to Gutierrez, "Similar to November, sales will be heavily skewed toward the final week of the month as automakers and dealers try to beat year-end sales targets. For consumers, this is generally the best time of year to purchase a new vehicle.  Dealers are trying to clear remaining 2013 model-year stock, which is 26 percent of current inventory...."

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