US: scorching summer sees hot auto sales in July image

New vehicle deliveries are forecasted to remain strong in July as the overall US auto industry is heading towards its best year in a decade even as uncertainty grows because the country’s economic growth is now slowing.

According to forecasts from Kelley Blue Book and J.D. Power, deliveries of new cars and trucks could soar 2.6 percent from the same period last year this month, posting an expected seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR, of 17.1 million autos. “As the industry settles into the summer selling season, new-car sales are expected to remain consistent with last month’s numbers, representing modest and slowing growth versus last year,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. During the first six months of the year, the overall US auto industry advanced 4.4 percent year-over-year to a total of 8.5 million vehicles – the best surge for the period since 2005. The predicted 2015 sales could hit 17.1 million units, up 3.6 percent from the same period of 2014 and the best industry tally since 2001. “The industry continues to outperform prior-year levels with respect to retail sales and transaction prices,” added John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power.

Retail sales – which generally yield better profit to automakers – are expected to make up 87.1 percent of the market this month, up from 85.9 percent the same month last year. Additionally, transaction prices are on pace to set a new record for the month – with consumer spending on new vehicles totaling a forecasted level of $37.4 billion, the best for the month in a decade.