U.S. light-vehicle sales are expected to rise 18 percent in August compared with the same month last year, according to a forecast by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

The total volume expected is 1.29 million units, a figure that would bring the seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate at 14.5 million units, the highest since 2008.

“August continues this summer’s trend of healthy growth in retail sales as dealers work to sell down inventory in time to make room for 2013 models,” John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power, said in a press release.

Analysts’ predictions are based on ample vehicle inventories, readily available credit and consumers’ need to replace older vehicles. But although sales are expected to rise, J.D. Power expects automaker incentive spending to decline by an average of $106 per vehicle.

Despite August is looking strong for auto sales, LMC Automotive is lowering its sales forecast for 2012 from 14.5 million to 14.3 million vehicles. The reason for this downward adjustment is the continued European economic crisis. Also, LMC Automotive cites as a factor the weak economic growth in the U.S.


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