US: sales continue to outpace forecasts image

A few months back, after a great sales year just ended and the winter sank its chilly teeth into consumer demand, analysts predicted the ongoing sales growth would not be sustainable. Well, the summer months have come to disagree.

After June’s records, early numbers from July reveal the upward trend for sales of new cars, trucks or SUVs remains, as consumers increasingly visit the showrooms. Based on the record pace accounted in May and June, many analysts now moved to revisit their early-year predictions, forecasting increased sales for 2014. Some of them even consider this July could be the best since 2006.

“We are at 16.3 million for 2014, but still think there could be a small amount of upside potential,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive.

“One of the biggest reasons for the robust marketplace are low interest rates, and very attractive lease specials,” added Cars.com chief analyst Jesse Toprak.

Most of the analysts upgraded their SAAR (seasonally adjusted annualized rate) figure from 16.1 million vehicles to around 16.3 million, based on automakers’ performance so far. The carmakers themselves are even more optimistic about deliveries this year, with GM placing them at 16 to 16.5 million, Chrysler at 16.5 million and Ford anywhere in between 15.7 and 16.7 million units.