US September sales seen reaching pre-recession levels image

The final numbers have not been tallied yet, but even as summer fades away industry observers and analysts predict last month’s sales would be the best since before the latest great economic downturn started.

With the economy still strong, consumer confidence at new highs and with fuel prices still falling, the seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR, is seen by the industry at 16.4 million for 2014 – a healthy increase from the initial predictions.

“We expect another strong month for the industry with the best September since 2007,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “Incentive spending has tapered off from August, a month where we found increases attributable to shifts in segment mix, model-year clearance and holiday events. September incentive spending and transaction price growth are at healthy levels,” he added.

“September sales are consistent with the strength we’ve seen most of this year,” adds senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. “Buyers have been able to secure low financing deals and have responded to lease offers in record numbers. These are behaviors that bode well for the continued strength of new car sales,” she continues.

Tracking service Edmunds sees the final tally even better, at a SAAR of 16.5 million units, with sales climbing above the 2013 figure with a percentage close to a double-digit growth. Kelley Blue Book also forecasts sales to end up 9.1% higher in September, with total fleet and retail deliveries at 1.24 million autos.