Automotive industry analysts are projecting sales of over 14.4 million units this year, a lofty figure we originally reported late last year. Unfortunately, it seems that those paid visionaries may be an overly optimistic bunch as the actual sales figures – calculated by outside experts – are expected to be significantly lower.

American Honda expects sales growth of 25 percent over last year, while Nissan is estimating an 18-percent growth. Toyota Motor Sales, Chrysler Group and General Motors are all aiming for a 15-percent bump. All of those numbers exceed outside calculations, which say industry growth will be at about eight percent in 2012.

Industry experts at J.D. Power and Associates say many automakers have been simply too aggressive with forecasts. "There are painful decisions to be made," the company said. "Companies need to maintain discipline with realistic forecasts. The recovery is taking longer than expected. Getting too aggressive can lead to bad practices like pushing inventory." In layman's terms, production plans are based on sales goals (factories are tasked with producing enough cars to keep the showrooms stocked). If volume estimates are too high, hundreds of thousands of new cars could be sitting unsold at dealerships later this year, leading to an industry-wide incentives war.

In defense of the automakers, the optimism isn't completely unfounded. Natural disasters rocked the Japanese manufacturers last year, and they expect to use 2012 to reclaim much of their market. In addition, nearly every automaker is introducing new products in high-volume segments. Nevertheless, J.D. Power projects a 13.8 million market in 2012, followed by 15.4 million in 2013 and 16.2 million in 2014.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      Jake
      • 2 Years Ago
      A potential meltdown in Europe souring the economy. I think that I'd rather be a little short than have too much surplus and have to dump it.
      Chip
      • 2 Years Ago
      The recovery is taking longer than expected because most people still don't feel secure enough in their jobs, and most don't want to spend the money they do have on a sticker-shock priced new car.
      BlackDynamiteOn
      • 2 Years Ago
      Everybody can't go up 15% this year Somebody's full of sh............shenanigans...... BD
      rlog100
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not if we get $6 gas.
        mapoftazifosho
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rlog100
        Wow, now it's $6 a gallon gas according to this guy! Look, I think gas will go up in price due to a number of different factors, but people love to throw around 50-75% increase in the cost of fuel based on someone else saying $4 and then $5 per gallon gas...this guy just has to sound that much cooler and drops $6...what a bad mother...
      Randy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Thankfully jobs are coming back at a more rapid pace however people need to pay down their accrued debts, build a little bit of a financial nest-egg to fall back on, get confidence that the euro-zone's financial woes are under control, understand how the new Iran / Isreal conflict will effect the economy if Iran stops oil exports (US doesn't get oil from Iran but some allies do) and to get the nod from the news channels that the coast is clear. Once all of the above are achieved, consumer confidence will rise. I believe it will be about 6 months (Iran / Isreal War aside) for the US economy to start booming. Basically there are two potential scenarios in the six months to come. Either the US economy is booming and more people are confident, thus buying which makes the current President look good (i.e. gets reelected) OR if US financial matters are better but not good enough for the white house to say "look it worked vote for me again" then I'm theorizing that the US could get "dragged" into the Iran / Isreal conflict. Why? Because statistically speaking the US citizen is more apt to keep a President in office during war times which was suggested in the news during the Bush era. That's not my opinion, it's statistical. I for one don't think Obama is interested in staying in office at the cost of anyone so I'm fairly confident that the US will be booming in 6 months or so. The guys track record on wars is good. He got everyone out of Iraq, working on Saudi Arabia, got Bin Laden and has had very little involvement elsewhere with conflicts when compared to full scale wars. I think we're on the right track to be back to normal soon. Note: This isn't a political endorsement, it's just my perception. I could be completely wrong, but I'm pretty sure on this!
        caddy-v
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Randy
        Regardless of the claim of jobs coming back, I wish that was true but in this real world it's as misleading as virtually everything coming out of Washington, Democrats and Republicans alike. The U1 number shows decreasing unemployment while they don't take into account the factor that 1.2M jobs that have been eliminated. Gone forever. When the numbers of unemployed stays the same but the number of jobs available are decreased the overall U1 unemployment rate lowers. The real unemployment rate to look at is the U6 at 17% which takes into account the the jobs gone forever. This includes companies that closed for one reason or another with the largest percentage being the poor economy and it also factors in the unemployed no longer eligible to collect unemployment benefits and those that have simply given up looking for work. Booming economy in six months is extremely optimistic. Unless the major workhorse in the economy, housing, makes enormous strides in improving the economy will remain stagnant at best. At the present rate it will take 10 to 15 years to get back to a housing market that at the very least is stable. With current policies in place and if they remain in place there's little or no hope of avoiding another recession.
      Chip
      • 2 Years Ago
      The recovery is taking longer than expected because most people still don't feel secure enough in their jobs, and most don't want to spend the money they do have on a sticker-shock priced new car.
      diffrunt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hard to call 14.4 mil car sales a "recession"