Even as incentive spending reaches a record high, U.S. new-vehicle sales are projected to decline for a second consecutive month. The forecasts reinforce the notion that industry sales have leveled off after six consecutive years of gains coming out of the recession. But analysts say the market is not on the brink of a downturn, either.
Auto sales are tracking just about even with last year’s record-breaking pace, so there’s good reason to believe that they’ve hit a high plateau. At the very least, automakers can feel good that sales are consistently hovering at or around last year’s record levels. All of the forecasts show that September is expected to be the first month since February in which automakers sold fewer than 1.5 million vehicles.
Incentive spending is up 69 percent from a year ago at Subaru, 44 percent at BMW, 23 percent at Volkswagen Group of America and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, 12 percent at Nissan North America and 11 percent at Ford Motor Co. sales will fall at least 8 percent for Ford, with FCA, General Motors, Nissan and VW posting more modest declines. The forecasts show a small gain for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and mixed results for Hyundai-Kia and American Honda. Sales are expected to decline less for luxury vehicles than for mass-market brands.