SANTA MONICA, California — The July car sales report is expected to set the stage for a robust second half of the year in dealer showrooms, according to the Edmunds.com monthly forecast.
The forecast anticipates that it will be the best for the month of July since 1.8 million sales were registered in July 2005.
July sales will reflect a 0.7 percent increase from June 2016 and a 0.8 percent increase from last July, resulting in an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.8 million.
"Last year's record-setting sales performance was powered primarily by a strong second half, and July sales suggest that 2016 is poised to play out in the same way," said Edmunds.com Executive Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. "With low interest rates and a leasing market that's stronger than ever, automakers have a great opportunity to build on last year's burst of summer sales. The growth might not be as significant as in recent years, but it's still growth nonetheless."
Gas prices continue to spur consumer interest in trucks and SUVs. On July 25, AAA reported that national pump prices had fallen for 43 of the past 44 days.
The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is pegged at $2.14 a gallon today, the lowest mark since April.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said gas prices are forecast to average 39 cents a gallon lower than last summer.
In addition, summer sales, often with healthy incentives, are prompting many car shoppers to visit showrooms.
Edmunds says: The second half of 2016 gets off to a fast start, courtesy of strong July car sales.