This has been a great year for carmakers and dealers. But next year may be an even better one for carbuyers.
Despite a burst of sales last month, showrooms and back lots have been filling up faster than salespeople can close deals. That could be a problem for manufacturers and sellers if it continues, but buyers could see richer incentives and better deals.
Automakers aren't alone in seeing inventories starting to pile up. Sluggish sales in the second half created a third-quarter backlog of more than $160 billion worth of unsold goods, which accounted for roughly half of the surprisingly strong 3.6 percent expansion in the economy.
(Read more: Overstocked retailers offering epic holiday bargains)
The government shutdown in early October didn't help, leaving many consumers wondering how long the insanity would last and whether it was hurting the economy. But, after the dust had settled, sidelined carbuyers returned to the market in droves last month.
Unlike general merchandise retailers, which squeezed a 2.3 percent sales gain from tightfisted shoppers on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, car dealers posted a year-over-year sales increase of 40 percent for the weekend.