U.S. Sales up 2.5% in June; record 2016 expected

U.S. Sales up 2.5% in June; record 2016 expected

New-vehicle sales rose 2.5 percent in June, less than expected but still enough to lead analysts to expect a record sales year of at least 17.5 million. Last year sales came in at 17.47 million. As some industry observers put it, sales appear to have reached a plateau, as had to happen at some point, but itês a good plateau. For June, the seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate (SAAR) was 16.6 million, down from 17.37 million in May, according to NADA.

–The overall market is at an incredibly healthy level,” said Mark LaNeve, Fordês vice president of sales and marketing. –Anything above 17 million feels really good to us and our dealers and the entire enterprise.”

SUVs, crossovers and light trucks continued to lead the charge. Fiat Chrysler saw its best June in 11 years because of strong Jeep and Ram Truck sales. Fordês sales got a big boost from the F-series, whose sales jumped 29 percent.

General Motors and Toyota posted their fourth monthly sales drops this year, down 1.6 percent and 5.6 percent respectively. GM is still dealing with the fallout from cutting its rental fleet sales, and Toyota is suffering from a poor SUV selection.

Sales overall were helped by low gas prices, available credit, consumer willingness to spend, appealing new product and rising incentives. Average incentives per vehicle hit a record for June at $3,278, up 3.8 percent from a year ago, said LMC/J.D. Power. Yet average transaction prices also hit a record high, at $33,652, according to estimates from Kelley Blue Book.

A few days after June sales were posted, S&P Global Ratings lowered its 2016 sales forecast from 17.8 million to 17.5 million. The S&P analyst cited slowing retail demand, an anemic May jobs report and economic fears from Brexit.

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