The pace of auto sales continued to slow in August, as the SAAR is forecast to drop for the third month in a row.
New-vehicle sales last month are expected to notch 1.59 million units – up 100,000 units, or 6.5%, from year ago levels. Still, the SAAR is forecast to drop to 16.5 million, down from July’s 16.8 million and June’s 17.3 million.
Extra selling days this August contributed to the “relatively weak SAAR,” given the increase in sales volume, according to a report by Cox Automotive. “Unfortunately, the third time is not a charm here,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox. “The market finally may be succumbing to toughening buying conditions and satiated vehicle demand.”
While the U.S. economy continues to show strength, the auto industry is feeling the pressure of affordability issues, a general saturation point with new-vehicle sales and an influx of off-lease products, according to the report. As a result, vehicle inventories continue to rise, prompting dealers and automakers to push new incentives to keep sales flowing.