Edmunds Forecast: September Auto Sales Buoyed by Labor Day Deals | Edmunds

Edmunds Forecast: September Auto Sales Buoyed by Labor Day Deals

A lackluster summer for car sales ends with some good news in September, according to Edmunds analysts: The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is forecast to reach 17.5 million, a new high for 2017. But the short-term news is less bright: September car sales will be down 2.9 percent from August, Edmunds analysts said.

Edmunds forecasts that 1,435,375 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in September. An estimated 3.19 million used vehicles will be sold this month, Edmunds said.

Year-over-year sales in September will be up by 0.4 percent, in part to automakers pumping up the deals over the Labor Day holiday, Edmunds analysts said. Typically, auto sales over Labor Day weekend are 33 percent higher than on the average first weekend of a month.

"Labor Day weekend got September auto sales off to strong start," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis. "Automakers are finally starting to dial up the incentives to clear excess inventory, which we anticipate will continue through the rest of the year."

Among the major manufacturers, VW-Audi will see the greatest year-over-year gain this month: 12.5 percent more sales than in September 2016 (46,963 vehicles for September 2017, compared to 41,729 for September 2016), Edmunds said. Ford, GM, Honda and Toyota also will realize year-over-year gains in September, according to Edmunds. Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai and Nissan all have double-digit year-over-year sales losses, Edmunds said.

Only two carmakers will see sales lifts in September compared to August, however. Nissan realizes a 6 percent increase, followed by Ford with a 1.9 percent increase. All other major carmakers' September sales will be down from August, with VW-Audi having the deepest dip: 9.4 percent, according to the Edmunds forecast.

In addition to increased incentives, September sales also are expected to get a slight lift from buyers who needed to replace vehicles that were destroyed in the recent hurricanes.

"We anticipate that the recovery from the recent hurricanes will give vehicle sales an incremental boost in September," Caldwell said, adding that this will likely continue to slightly lift the market in the months to come.

"When you have hundreds of thousands of people affected by an event of this magnitude, not everyone will hit the market at once," Caldwell said.

You can find more forecast details and insights into recent auto industry trends in the Edmunds Industry Center: http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/.

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