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U.S. Retail Auto Sales in June to Reach Decade-High

U.S. Retail Auto Sales in June to Reach Decade-High

By Philly Murtha, June 25, 2015

U.S. new light-vehicle sales in June are expected to remain robust, with retail deliveries setting a new pace and reaching their highest levels for any June since 2005, according to a monthly auto sales forecast update from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. The continued strength of auto sales is being driven by reasonable gasoline prices, a proliferation of new and redesigned models, and positive economic indicators, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive experts agree.

Based on sales analysis for the first 16 days of June, total new-car and light-truck deliveries (including retail and fleet sales) for the month are expected to reach 1.479 million units vs. 1.148 million unit sales in the same month last year, which is essentially flat (+0.01%) when adjusted for one fewer selling day last year (25 selling days in June 2015 vs. 24 selling days in June 2014).

However, retail sales (excluding fleet deliveries) are likely to edge up 1% to more than 1.169 million units, compared with 1.109 million unit sales in June 2014. This would be the highest retail sales total since June 2005, when deliveries reached 1.35 million units. The retail seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) in June 2015 is anticipated to be 13.6 million units, up nearly 400,000 units from June 2014 and the strongest June selling rate in a decade.

It's also estimated that the SAAR for total light-vehicle sales will be 17.2 million units, up 300,000 units from a 16.9 million-unit selling pace in June 2014. While the retail sales share is up, the fleet sales share in June may slip to 21% of total sales vs. 22% a year ago.

"June is on pace to complete the strongest first half of the year since 2002," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power, noting that retail sales through the first half of 2015 are estimated to reach 6.771 million units.

Humphrey also said that the average new-vehicle retail transaction price so far in June is $30,452, which may set a new record for the month, based on data collected by the Power Information Network(R) (PIN) from J.D. Power. The previous retail transaction price record of $29,813 was set in June 2014.

Additionally, Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, suggests that the strength of the auto industry has been predicated on a basket of positive metrics, "including economic support, gas prices, the stock market, higher and stable transaction prices, and significant product activity," leading to a forecast of a 17.1 million-unit pace in the second half of 2015."

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