Tepid September sales, much of it retail, with rising incentives
Nationally, September auto sales presented mixed results, with totals down slightly from a year ago, with rising incentives and a high proportion of retail sales rather than fleets. No one expected the recent hot sales pace to continue, and September confirmed those expectations.
Still, several automakers and analysts expressed optimism. Key economic fundamentals like a strong jobs market, rising personal incomes, low fuel prices and low interest rates continue to point toward strong industry performance, said Mustafa Mohatarem, GMês chief economist. We think the industry is well positioned for a continued high level of customer demand into the foreseeable future.
Septemberês seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) was 17.74 million, a big jump from 16.97 in August, but below September 2015ês 18.04 million. This year remains on track to be the second biggest sales year of any on record.
Average transaction prices increased nearly 3 percent from a year ago, according to Kelley Blue Book. That trend has been bolstered by the market shift from cars to crossovers and SUVs, said KBB analyst Tim Fleming. And although incentives are rising, Autotrader.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs said they are not spiraling out of control.Download Bulletin PDF