August Auto Sales Forecast at a Robust 13.1 Million SAAR

offshore nameplates represented six of the top ten selling vehicles in July—up from five in June.

Offshore nameplates represented six of the top ten selling vehicles in July—up from five in June.

U.S. new vehicle sales in August are projected at 1,270,400 units, a 12% increase from August 2012 and the highest monthly sales tally since 2006. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate or SAAR for auto sales in August is forecast to be 13.1 million units, the first time the selling rate has been above 13 million units for three consecutive months since Q1 of 2007.

Total light-vehicle sales in August 2013 are expected to increase by 12% from August 2012 to 1,495,400. Fleet sales should comprise 15% of total auto sales, with volume of 225,000 units. Part of the growth comes from the Labor Day weekend – the filth weekend in August.

“The industry as a whole continues to experience a robust improvement in demand, and our forecast for August is looking to be the best month for retail auto sales that we’ve seen in the past seven years,” said John Humphrey, of J.D. Power, the source of the data. “Moreover, this strong selling environment is occurring when consumers are spending more on new vehicles than any month on record, which is a further indication of the underlying strength of the sector.”

J.D. Power expects consumer spending on new vehicles in August will approach $36 billion, which is the highest level on record.

North American light-vehicle production year-to-date through July is up 4% from the same period in 2012. However, inventory at the beginning of August decreased to an average 56-day supply from 61 days in July. The overall inventory level has dropped to 2.9 million units from 3.3 million units in July.

“Most automakers are seeing double-digit sales increases compared to last year as retail sales remain a bright spot, even with more new models entering the market,” said Alec Gutierrez, at Kelley Blue Book.  “Subaru continues to shine, estimated to be up 30% this month even with capacity constraints, and Honda once again has one of the strongest year-over-year growths.  On the other hand, Ford could have been up double digits, but has been hampered with production issues from both the Escape and Fusion.”

Power Forecast August 2013 July 2013 August 2012
Retail Sales 1,270,400+12%  Aug 12 1,138,898 1,093,675
Total Sales 1,495,400+12% Aug 12 1,313,298 1,283,599
Retail SAAR 13.1 million 13.1 m 12.6 m
Total SAAR 16.0 million 15.8 m 14.5 m




About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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