WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — New-vehicle retail sales in December are expected to reach a SAAR of 14.2 million units, the highest level since 2006, according to a monthly sales forecast released by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

J.D. Power projects sales of 1.3 million units for December, which represents a 7% increase on a selling day adjusted basis compared with last December. The selling day adjustment was made because this year’s December has one more selling day than last year.

Vehicle inventory levels at the start of December 2014 were at a 71-day supply, five days fewer than November and six fewer than last December. The end of the year is typically a strong time for dealers as customers seek better deals when inventories are being cleared out for the next year’s models.

“The industry continues to demonstrate strong sales growth as the year comes to a close,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive practice at J.D. Power. “December 31 was the strongest sales day of the year in 2013, bringing in more than 118,000 units, or 10% of the month’s sales.”

LMC Automotive is still projecting total light vehicle sales of 16.5 million units, a number that was increased recently due to strong November and December sales. Sales in 2015 will continue to increase, and LMC is projecting the industry will sell 17 million units next year.

“The prospects for auto sales to overachieve in 2015 are moving closer to reality as 2014 goes out on a high note,” said Jeff Schuster, SVP of forecasting at LMC. “Economic bliss, driven by job creation, wage growth and low gas prices may drive consumers to showrooms at a faster pace.”