August New-Car Sales Expected to Improve

New-vehicle sales are expected to rise 1.5 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.53 million units in August, resulting in an estimated 16.6 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book.

“August should be the first year-over-year increase of 2017, due in part to an extra selling day this month,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “This sales improvement would break a seven-month negative streak, the longest since the recession in 2009.

“Kelley Blue Book expects SAAR to remain relatively consistent from last month at 16.6 million. Fleet sales are expected to be down 4 percent, while retail sales are still holding strong and are projected to grow 2 percent during August. However, incentives average more than 10 percent of transaction prices and are helping support retail growth. For the year, fleet sales are down more than 10 percent, so an increase in fleet orders could be on the horizon and provide a sales lift later this year.”

After a record year of sales in 2016 and seven consecutive annual increases, Kelley Blue Book’s calls for sales in the range of 16.8 and 17.3 million units in 2017, which represents a 1- to 4-percent decrease from last year.

Key highlights for the estimated August sales forecast:

  • New light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to hit 1.5 million units, up 1.5 percent compared to August 2016 and up 8.5 percent from July 2017
  • The seasonally adjusted annual rate for August 2017 is estimated to be 16.6 million, down from 16.7 million in August 2016 and down from 17.1 million in July 2017.
  • Retail sales are expected to account for 86.1 percent of volume in August 2017, up from 85.3 percent in August 2016

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