U.S. SUV Gross sales Bounce Once more in August
(Reuters) – Prime automakers pointed to a small improve in U.S. auto gross sales in August together with one other sharp rise in SUV gross sales, as low unemployment and robust shopper confidence helped mitigate the impression of rising rates of interest and gasoline costs.
The reviews from Ford Motor Co and different high carmakers comply with an increase in shopper confidence to a close to 18-year excessive which allayed fears in regards to the impression of President Trump’s protectionist commerce coverage on sentiment.
Analysts mentioned the outcomes have been roughly on monitor to satisfy Reuters-compiled consensus forecasts for the annualized tempo of U.S. automobile and lightweight truck gross sales of 16.Eight million items for the month, in comparison with 16.6 million a 12 months in the past.
Ford, the No.2 U.S. automaker, bought 218,504 automobiles in August, in contrast with 209,897 a 12 months in the past, when Labor Day gross sales efforts have been marred by the arrival of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The rise included a 20.1 p.c surge in gross sales of sport utility automobiles whereas pickup truck gross sales rose 5.7 p.c.
Ford’s head of US Advertising and marketing, Mark LaNeve, mentioned annualized seasonally adjusted U.S. automobile and lightweight truck gross sales (SAAR) have been between 17.Zero million and 17.four million in August, together with medium and heavy vehicles which generally make up round 300,000 items.
“The general well being of the buyer may be very sturdy proper now, which gives a strong base for our trade,” LaNeve mentioned.
“On an absolute foundation, we estimate total trade gross sales to be flat, however it may make it up as excessive as being up 1 p.c whereas we’re nonetheless pulling in among the numbers.”
U.S. auto gross sales dropped 2 p.c final 12 months from a file 17.55 million in 2016 as customers shifted away from conventional passenger vehicles towards bigger, extra comfy SUVs and pickup vehicles, that are additionally extra worthwhile for automakers.
Ford mentioned earlier this 12 months it could step by step stop manufacturing of most passenger vehicles in the USA. Its new Navigator SUV had a median transaction value of $84,000, up $30,000 a 12 months in the past when the earlier design was being bought. The corporate bought 1,522 of the massive SUVs final month, up from 755 in the identical interval final 12 months.
Rival Toyota Motor Corp, which has a bigger share of cheaper passenger automobiles, mentioned its U.S. gross sales had fallen 2 p.c to 223,055 automobiles in August. Its SUV gross sales rose 8.9 p.c.
Common Motors, the No. 1 U.S. automaker, not reviews month-to-month gross sales. Trade analysts final week estimated GM gross sales fell about 8.5 p.c in August.
Fiat Chrysler mentioned U.S. gross sales have been up 10 p.c to 193,718 automobiles in August, led by Jeep and Ram.
The U.S. jobs market is seen as being close to or at full employment, serving to to assist shopper spending and increase the general financial system.
But many analysts are forecasting weaker auto gross sales for the second half of 2018 and additional declines in U.S. car demand subsequent 12 months.
Ford’s Senior Americas Economist Bryan Bezold mentioned that US trade gross sales may go larger however have been extra more likely to plateau the place they’re now.
“General, the info suggests continued financial development within the second half, albeit with the indicators of accelerating value pressures,” he mentioned.
“Financial circumstances stay broadly supportive of auto gross sales across the current run fee as we head into historically sturdy retail SAAR month later within the 12 months.”
Honda Motor Co Ltd’s U.S. gross sales rose 1.three p.c in August to 147,903 items, lead by a roughly 19 p.c improve in gross sales of SUVs together with CR-V and Odyssey minivans.
Nissan Group’s August gross sales rose about four p.c to 112,376 automobiles, helped by larger gross sales of crossovers similar to Murano and Rogue.
(Reporting by Rachit Vats and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Enhancing by Patrick Graham)