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Total sales will be up despite retail declines, slow summer.

With several manufacturers already reporting December highlights, industry analysts say the month's sales will cap off a record year despite some declines in key metrics.

A report today from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive is calling for total 2016 sales to edge out those from 2015 by just a few thousand units, ending the year with a total of roughly 17.5 million.

Other highlights from the report include the expectation that December sales will just barely outpace those of a year ago, largely thanks to struggling sales of sedans.

The report also says that retail sales will finish down vs. a year ago, meaning the year's improvement comes entirely from the fleet side.

Also of note is the spike in incentive spending. Average incentives per unit averaged $4,000 in November, and December's figure is expected to be higher as dealers push to move excess inventory before year-end.