Carmakers will release their sales numbers for April throughout Tuesday.
Analysts forecast a fourth straight monthly decline for sales, signalling that the market may have peaked after seven straight years of record sales. According to Bloomberg, total vehicle sales are estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.10 million. That would be up from the 16.53 million pace recorded in March, but down year-over-year.
Lower spending on cars hurt the economy in the first quarter. The advance estimate of gross domestic product released on Friday showed that consumer spending rose by just 0.3%, the lowest since Q4 2009, as the economy grew 0.7%.
A decline in sales this year would mark the first annual decrease since 2009. Even after offering steep discounts and incentives, dealers have been unable to move sedans from their floors as more shoppers opt for SUVs.
“While far from a disaster, we believe that a 17.1 million print won’t be helpful for sentiment and those investors harboring concerns around the cycle, unless the weaker year-on-year volumes are in tandem with a notable pull-back in incentives; unfortunately that looks unlikely to be the case,” said Evercore ISI’s Arndt Ellinghorst in a note.
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