US car sales have stayed weak in August, despite heavy rebates and cash incentives.
Based on sales for the first 17 days of the month, JD Power expects total sales in August to be around 1.21 million vehicles, or 13.4 million vehicles at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. That’s slightly better than July, but down 17% year over year. Inventory days for the first half of the month (the number of days cars sit on dealer lots) rose 14% year over year. (For context, US unit sales peaked at 17.4 million in 2000 and stayed above 17 million for the next five years. Sales averaged just over 15 million in the 1990s).
Nissan (NSANY) is the only automaker expected to finish the month with higher sales from the previous August (up 1.5%). General Motors (GM) (which will see a slight uptick in sales at the end of the month from its employee discount program), Ford (F), and Chrysler will all see declines of 24-30%. Toyota (TM) is expected to have a 13% decline in sales.
But August isn’t expected to be quite as pathetic as July was (Reuters):
“However, with auto makers getting near the end of one model year and getting ready to start the next, sales are beginning to show some signs of improving over July’s dismal sales performance,” J.D. Power Chief Economist Bob Schnorbus said.
The only good news here is that the rate of decline isn’t accelerating.
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