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U.S. Car Sales Expected to be at Lowest Level Since 2013

U.S. Car Sales Expected to be at Lowest Level Since 2013

The first half of 2019 is officially over and for the automotive industry may be seeing the lowest sales level it has seen since the same period back in 2013. Despite the slowdown, industry profits are not yet suffering thanks to changes to record climbs in average vehicle prices.

According to Bloomberg analysts from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive are estimating sales from January through June of this year will come in 2.9 to 3.3. percent lower than the same period in 2018. The dip in sales will equate to the lowest sales level for the first half of the year since 2013. Despite the dip, seasonally adjusted annualized rate–SAAR–is coming in at 17 million units, down from 17.3 million in June 2018.

The final sales numbers for the first half of the year have not yet been calculated.

While sales volumes may be down year-over-year, automaker profits are not down. The financial lift is credited to American’s love affair with trucks and SUVs. This love affair has driven average vehicle prices to $33,346, an increase of four percent from the same period last year and one of the largest ever increases. The climb in pricing has also allowed automakers to continue offering sales incentives to boost volumes.

Analysts also estimate that sales to rental fleets and other commercial customers is actually up year-over-year, despite the overall sales decline. This means the decline in sales on the retail side of the industry is perhaps understated in the aggregate figure.



About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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  1. Tone
    The North American market is basically a replacement market -- and people are holding onto cars longer. That's why everyone is focused on getting a foothold into growth markets like China and on increasing margins here.

    That said, the increase in margins in NA seems to be driven by longer loan terms more than people having more money to spend. Doesn't seem like that will end well when the inevitable downturn comes.
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