While total sales for the first six months of the year have yet to be calculated, analysts from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive believe retail sales likely fell by 2.9 per cent to 3.3 per cent in the first half compared to the same time period 12 months ago. Consequently, the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of total sales is tipped to slow to around 17 million vehicles, down from the 17.3 million estimated in June 2018.
Interestingly, while new car sales are slowing, the average price for new vehicles sold across the country is rising and on pace to reach $33,346 in the first half, the highest ever and a jump of almost 4 per cent from a year ago.
Bloomberg notes that the love American consumers have for SUVs and trucks is helping car manufacturers to preserve profits and retain generous incentives. Additionally, there is strong consumer confidence across the market as well as low employment, two important factors which go some way to explain why people are now spending more on their new cars.
One surprising tidbit from the report is that despite the slowdown on new car sales, rental-car companies and commercial buyers are actually purchasing more vehicles than previously. J.D. Power and LMC Automotive predict sales of fleet vehicles rose by 3.9 per cent in June and that the segment is on pace for a record year.