A WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. light-vehicle sales to reach an 18.4 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual rate in November, leading to the first 3-month streak of 18 million-plus results. The forecasted SAAR would be the highest monthly outcome since July 2005’s 20.6-million.

The report calls for 1.33 million light vehicles to be delivered over 23 selling days in November. The resulting daily selling rate of 57,963 units represents a 12.1% improvement over same-month year-ago (over 25 days) and a 12.6% month-to-month gain on October (28 days), ahead of an average 9% October-November jump over the past three years.

The total includes 532,000 cars, up just 0.2% from year-ago based on daily rates. New-product launches and inventory clear-out sales are keeping the vehicle type in the black this month. Light-truck sales, mostly boosted by CUVs, are expected to grow 14.8% daily to 755,000 units.

If the predicted November sales numbers are correct, December sales will have to surpass 1,574,314 for 2015 to finish higher than the record 17,349,755 units set in 2000. That December number would mean a 56,226 DSR over 28 days, 2.4% less than the 57,621 DSR seen year-ago (26 days). The DSR over the first 10 months of the year is up 5.4% from 2014. This trend, along with healthy inventory levels and increased scheduled production in Q4, make it likely December will finish ahead of last year and beat the 2000 record.

Growing popularity of the Thanksgiving “Black Friday” weekend auto sales and incentives is expected to boost month-end activity more than usual. A small increase in payrolls in the previous month and low fuel prices make new-vehicle purchases even more affordable. Daily sales rate gains are forecast for the top seven automakers in November.

General Motors is expected to sell 230,000 LVs in the month, a 10.6% rise daily. The automaker will lose some market share, slipping to 17.2% from 17.5% in like-2014, as FCA US and Ford gain share. Ford could grab 14.2% of the market with 189,000 LV deliveries, up 12.7% from last year. FCA US is forecast to sell 176,000 LVs, resulting in a 13.2% market share and a 12.9% DSR increase.

Toyota is expected to beat FCA with 185,000 units, giving the OEM a 13.9% stake, down from 14.2% prior-year.

Nissan is forecast to see the biggest growth from last year, up 15.8% with 110,000 deliveries for the month. Honda likely will see the least growth of the major automakers but still be up a healthy 9.3% with 123,000 sales.

Hyundai-Kia’s total deliveries should hit 102,000 in November, a 12.9% gain from October and 12.5% higher than same-month 2014.

At forecast levels, year-to-date LV sales through November would come to 15.78 million units, 5.6% above the same period last year.

U.S. light-vehicle inventory ended October at 3.58 million units, or 69 days’ supply.  This number was less than 1% above year-ago, but still high enough to cover November’s short selling period. November likely will end with 3.63 million units in stock, equating to 63 days’ supply.

esunde@wardsauto.com