Auto sales show first signs of slipping – The Hill

Posted: Thursday, September 01, 2016

U.S. auto sales declined slightly in August following a period of strong growth, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

Sales at General Motors Co. reportedly fell 5.2 percent, to 256,429 vehicles, last month, which a spokesman said was expected due to a tighter dealership inventory and a 20 percent-off promotion in July that pulled demand forward and left stores with a trimmer stock in August.

Ford Motor Co. said August sales dropped 8.8 percent, to 213,411 vehicles, with retail sales declining 8 percent and fleet sales slipping 10 percent.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, however, saw a slight 3.1 percent increase, to 196,756 vehicles sold last month, which was bolstered by a 12 percent bump in Jeep sales from a year ago.

The Journal reports that the demand for new cars overall remains strong, especially for trucks and SUVs, thanks to lower gasoline prices.

But U.S. light-vehicle sales are expected to drop between 3 percent and 5 percent compared to the same month last year, sparking concerns from the U.S. auto industry that it is entering its first prolonged plateau since the years surrounding the financial crisis, according to the Journal.

“As we look at the remainder of the year, the industry faces an uphill struggle to match last year’s performance,” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, told the Journal. “With mixed economic signals, it certainly looks like the U.S. auto sales may have peaked in 2015.”

When it comes to the August sales of Asian manufacturers, Toyota Motor Corp. dropped 5 percent; Honda Motor Co. slid 3.8 percent; and Nissan Motor Co. dropped 6.5 percent.

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