Although demand for SUVs and pickups continues to flourish, total U.S. new-vehicle (retail and fleet) sales in September are anticipated to dip 0.8% to less than 1.43 million units vs. 1.44 million unit sales in the same month of 2015. Despite a record level of incentive spending, Labor Day weekend sales, which are traditionally robust, were down 1% from last year, based on sales data collected during the first two weeks of September.
The month’s retail deliveries are set to reach 1.185 million units, off 1.4% from last September’s 1.2 million. Fleet sales are expected to rise 2.1% to 243,600 units and make up 17% of the mix. Demand for light trucks is robust; deliveries of pickups and SUVs account for nearly a 61% share of new-vehicle retail sales so far in September, and the percentage may match the record set in July of this year. Pickups alone comprised 15.9% of sales this month.
The mid-month update also reveals that the average new-vehicle (retail) transaction price in September is $30,665 – a record for the month. Incentive spending also is the highest for any September, averaging $3,923, surpassing the previous high of $3,753 in December 2008. Although new-car sales have fallen slightly, they are still at near-record levels, and transaction prices are at all-time highs.