US: car market heats in July image

Although throughout the country much of the summer has been cooler than usual, the same can’t be said about the new car sales – with scorching summer numbers.

This, along with preliminary data for the month, prompted industry executives to remain confident the sales throughout the rest of the year will keep their rising pace. Mark Fields, the new Ford CEO, said that because the general economy is steady, consumer confidence should lead to strong retail sales for the last six months of the year. Chuck Stevens, GM’s chief financial officer supported the idea, noting that figures look very enticing for the rest of the year.

“Sales in the first half of the year totaled 8.15 million, an increase of 4.2% from last year. In the second quarter, sales hit 4.41 million, which is the second-best quarter since 2006,” said Alec Gutierrez, KBB senior analyst.

According to preliminary data for July, the sales could rise as much as 12% from the same period last year, prompting the best July since 2006. Forecasters TrueCar and Kelly Blue Book predict sales climbing to around 1.46 million units – which should in term lift the seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR, to 16.6 million or 16.7 million vehicles. That would translate to around 1 million more cars than the total accounted in 2013.