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January Car Sales Low as Expected, Edmunds.com Says

January 22, 2010

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — An early look at January auto sales indicates a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of about 10.5 million, according to Edmunds.com.

This may be disappointing to industry observers, but Edmunds.com’s December analysis forecasted that January SAAR was likely to come in lower than December.

“The discount opportunities between Christmas and New Year’s have become legend. The story is so compelling that the deals don’t actually have to be good, but people will still buy,” said Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl. “There is no such story in January. Deal sensitive shoppers are waiting for Presidents’ Day weekend for the deals that they’ve been programmed to expect.”

Seasonal adjustments used to calculate SAAR assume that January sales will be worse than December’s. Edmunds.com predicts that the raw sales numbers will show a more precipitous drop but, despite the January SAAR, believes 2010 auto sales are on track to hit 11.5 million units.

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