In seventh straight month of dropoff, July sales fall 7 percent

In seventh straight month of dropoff, July sales fall 7 percent

In a sign that the industry is finally slowing down after several years of record sales, U.S. new-vehicle sales fell by 7 percent in July. The dropoff, which marked the seventh straight month of declining sales volume, came despite increasing incentives and inventories. But automakers were not panicking.

–U.S. auto sales continue to moderate from last yearês record pace, but key U.S. economic fundamentals remain supportive of strong vehicle sales,” said GM chief economist Mustafa Mohatarem. –Under the current economic conditions, we anticipate the second half of 2017 will be much stronger than the first half.”

General Motors and Fiat Chrysler saw double-digit sales declines, and Ford, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai-Kia and Volkswagen all had lower sales. The Detroit Three blamed lower fleet sales, but their retail sales fell, too. Only Toyota, Lexus, Audi and Acura saw higher sales.

One bright note was the continued rise in average transaction price, to $34,721, up 1.7 percent from a year ago, according to Kelly Blue Book. KBB analyst Tim Fleming attributed the uptick to the increasing popularity of SUVs, though he noted that transaction prices for SUVs were not particularly strong in July. But SUVs still generally cost more than cars, so the changing sales mix would be enough to boost the transaction price.

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