NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Once again in November, U.S. auto sales were strong, underscoring the economy's continuing strength in a year when the S&P 500 has risen 12% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 8%.
Auto sales growth and transaction prices have been rising through the year.
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Cars.com and TrueCar forecast November light-vehicle sales of 1.3 million, up 3% to 4% from the same month a year earlier and the highest November unit sales count since 2001.
Both firms forecast a seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate of 17 million, the best November rate since 2004, while Kelley Blue Book sees a slightly lower SAAR of 16.8 million. Automakers will report November sales on Tuesday.
Growth continued even though November 2014 had one fewer sales day than November 2013.
"November was another very robust month for new-vehicle sales," said Cars.com analyst Jesse Toprak in a prepared statement. "Year-end clearance deals for the 2014 model year vehicles, relatively lower gas prices and an excellent selection of cars and trucks propelled the sales rate to its highest level in a decade."
Kelley Blue Book analyst Alec Gutierrez, in a prepared statement said, "Economic conditions remain favorable, with the unemployment rate at its lowest in six years and with consumer confidence nearing pre-recession levels."
As for retail sales, J.D. Power expects a total of 1.1 million units, the highest level for November since 2001.
"The industry continues to demonstrate strong sales growth, which is exceptional considering that November is currently on pace to record the highest average customer-facing transaction prices ever," said J.D. Power analyst John Humphrey in a prepared statement.
Through Nov. 16, retail transaction prices averaged $30,874, which is $165 more than the previous record of $30,709 in October 2014, J.D. Power said.
Combined record transaction prices with strong new-vehicle retail sales put November on pace for a record month for consumer spending on new vehicles at $33.3 billion, which is $1.1 billion more than the previous record for November set in 2013, J.D. Power said.Kelley Blue Book projects that FiatChrysler ( FCAU) will post a 12% sales growth increase in November, leading the industry, as Jeep sales have risen 45% this year.
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