Photo of F-150 courtesy of Ford.

Photo of F-150 courtesy of Ford.

Light-vehicle fleet sales in January are projected to total 204,000 units making up about 18 percent of the total vehicle sales for the month. This number represents an increase in units but is on par in percentage of total sales with January 2014.

New-vehicle retail sales in are expected to reach the highest January levels since 2004 according to a sales forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. Sales are projected to reach 932,000 units for the month, an 8.5 percent increase over 2014.

J.D. Power is holding to its prediction of 17 million vehicles sold in 2015 a slight increase over 2014's numbers.

"The year is off to a great start with exceptional growth in retail sales," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive practice at J.D. Power. "The sales momentum seen throughout 2014 is continuing into 2015."

Continuing a trend from 2014, low gasoline prices are causing consumers to buy more trucks, with truck, van and SUV sales accounting for 55.4 percent of sales so far in January.

Vehicle production is expected to increase in 2015 but at a slower rate than last year which saw a 5 percent increase. LMC Automotive expects North American production to hit 17.4 million vehicles in 2015, an increase of 3 percent over 2014.

"The auto industry is starting 2015 on auto pilot," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. "Growth of 3 percent should be easy to achieve as the risk could be centered more with automakers and suppliers not being able to keep up with demand if growth were to be stronger than we project."

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet