SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The industry will sell 1,153,459 new cars and trucks in January for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.7 million, Edmunds predicted this week.

If realized, the prediction reflects a 31.5% decrease in sales from December 2016 and a 0.7% decrease from January 2016.

"January had the potential of being a very slow month at dealerships, given the fact that auto sales shattered records in December," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis. "But January is shaping up to be a surprisingly healthy month. The economy continues to show signs of strength and consumers are feeling confident, boosting auto sales above initial expectations."

Edmunds estimates that the retail SAAR will come in at 14.6 million units this month, with fleet transactions accounting for 17.3% of total sales. An estimated 3.1 million used vehicles will be sold in January 2017 for a SAAR of 38.4 million, up from 2.6 million units, or a SAAR of 38.2 million, in December.