August auto sales expected to be up


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

August is expected to be the first month where auto sales this year increased over last year.

The increase is in part because of an extra selling day this August.

Kelley Blue Book, KBB, analysts expect automakers to report a 1.5 percent increase in sales to 1.53 million.

“This sales improvement would break a seven-month negative streak, the longest since the recession in 2009,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for KBB, in a statement.

Edmunds analysts predict a 1.3 percent increase in sales to 1.52 million.

“While any kind of sales lift after seven months of declines is encouraging, automakers still have a long road ahead to have a strong close to the year. It’s a small step in the right direction,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds, in a statement.

Midsize cars continue to struggle with the segment’s market share falling close to 10 percent. Compact cars aren’t far behind with 13.1 percent. Meanwhile, the compact sport utility vehicles have 18.7 percent of the market share, according to KBB analysts.

Every segment except for midsize cars should see an increase in sales.

For automakers, General Motors could gain the most market share of the major manufacturers on the strength of its sales of SUVs and trucks, KBB analysts said. The Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse should report significant sales increases.

KBB analysts expect GM to post a 6.1 percent year-over-year increase in sales to 272,000, while Edmunds analysts expect only a 1.9 percent increase to 261,183.

Edmunds analysts expect Toyota to post an 11.6 percent increase to 237,937 while KBB expects the automaker to post a 6.5 percent increase to 227,000.

“Inventories are still high, but automakers haven’t been afraid to put cash on the hood this year, so we expect dealers will be aggressive with their Labor Day and model-year-end sales events to keep this momentum going,” Caldwell said.

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