July 2015 Sales Flourish Due to Higher Demand for SUVs, Special Promotions
July is anticipated to be another robust sales month for the U.S. auto industry with a likely 3% increase in total sales (retail and fleet) from July 2014--driven by special "employee pricing for everyone" promotions and growing demand for SUVs, according to a monthly sales forecast update from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.
Based on data collected in the first 15 days of the month, retail new-vehicle sales are estimated to rise 2.5% in July--to 1.26 million units vs. 1.23 million units in the same month of 2014. Total (retail and fleet) deliveries in July 2015 are projected to reach nearly 1.48 million units vs. 1.43 million units in July 2014. Fleet volume this month is projected to account for 15% of industry sales, up slightly from last year's July fleet share of 14%.
At the segment level, SUVs continue to prime sales growth. During the first half of July, Compact SUV market share rose by nearly 1 percentage point (+0.9%) from July 2014--doubling in size since 2005. Demand for Small SUVs is the strongest among all 26 segments--share is up 1.7 points from last July--increasing eightfold since 2005.
In contrast, share for the largest segment--Midsize Cars--is down 1.2 points from July 2014. Additionally, although the Large Pickup segment share is up one-half point in July 2015 vs. a year ago, this segment has posted the largest decline in the past 10 years (a loss of 6.8 points of share since July 2005).
"The industry continues to outperform prior-year levels with respect to retail sales and transaction prices," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. Humphrey added, "The average new-vehicle retail transaction price so far in July is $29,673, on pace to achieve a new record for the month."