Forecast:  U.S. auto sales have stalled image

U.S. auto sales have stalled, July expected to be another weak month for auto sales as economic worries keep buyers at home.

Light-vehicle deliveries in July, to be released today at a later hour, may have run at an 11.9 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, the average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

July extends a disappointing run for many carmakers after a strong start this year. Sales slowed in May and June after a deathly earthquake in Japan (March 13) cut into supplies of small cars that were in demand because of high gas prices.

Those shortages, higher prices turned off many buyers.

The auto industry may lose over 1.5 million in projected sales in 2011, according to consultant AlixPartners. The economy is going bad, is not picking up as fast as anticipated, and the drag may continue beyond this year, the consulting firm said yesterday.

Moreover, the mechanism for job-creation south of the border seems to be damaged in a way that could hamper growth for years. The unemployment rate in the US was last reported at 9.2 percent in June of 2011.

From 1948 until 2010, the US’ Unemployment Rate averaged 5.70 percent reaching an historical high of 10.80 percent in November of 1982 and a record low of 2.50 percent in May of 1953. Question is: in what direction is going now? Or maybe we already have that answer…

photo credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg