Forecast: LV SAAR Should Hold Steady in August

The latest WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to sell 1.53 million light vehicles this month, equating to a 17.3 million-unit SAAR.

John Sousanis, Director, Information Content

August 28, 2015

3 Min Read
Forecast: LV SAAR Should Hold Steady in August

A new WardsAuto forecast calls for strong U.S. light-vehicle sales in August, extending a streak of light-vehicle SAARs that round to at least 17 million units.

The report calls for automakers to sell 1.53 million LVs in the U.S. this month, for a daily sales rate of 58,866 units (over 26 days), a 0.7% improvement over same-month year-ago (27 days). The modest increase actually represents a more meaningful year-over-year gain since last August’s official sales reports included Labor Day weekend sales, which lifted the daily sales rate for the entire month. This year, the heavily-incentivized holiday-weekend sales will fall entirely in September.

The forecasted seasonally adjusted rate of 17.3 million-units would make August the fourth consecutive month with an LV SAAR of at least 17 million and mark the longest such streak since a 12-month run ending in June 2002.

The forecasted 1.7% DSR improvement from July (25 days) is slightly below the average 2.5% July-August increase for the past three years.

A strong supply reflecting record July North American production plays a big role in the forecast. Automakers ended July with 3.35 million units (58 days’ supply) of inventory compared to 3.3 million (55 days) going into August 2014. Significantly, the July month-end inventory included nearly 60,000 more light trucks this year than last, giving the industry adequate stock to continue strong sales in that segment.

Inventory is expected to rise to 3.38 million units by the end of the month, leaving the industry with a 57 days’ supply at the forecasted DSR.

The WardsAuto report calls for General Motors daily sales to increase 3.6% over year-ago on a projected 272,000 deliveries. Light trucks should account for roughly 70% of the automaker’s sales. GM’s projected 17.8% market share is a half-point higher than its 17.3% year-ago take. The August forecast brings GM’s year-to-date deliveries to 2.05 million, up 3.3% over same-period year-ago.

Ford’s share also is expected to rise markedly from year-ago, with the automaker selling 14.4% of light vehicles for the month, compared with 13.8% last year. Ford’s DSR is expected to rise 5.3% over year-ago sales that were dampened by the automaker’s efforts to manage supply during its changeover to an all-new F-Series pickup. The forecasted 220,000 LV deliveries would bring Ford’s year-to-date sales to 1.7 million, up 5% from same-period year-ago.

FCA US is expected to deliver roughly 194,000 light vehicles, up 2.4% on a daily basis, for a 12.7% share. Year-to-date sales of 1.45 million would put the automaker 6.3% ahead of year-ago.

Toyota could push into the No.2 sales spot ahead of Ford after just missing that mark in July. Nonetheless, the forecasted 224,000 deliveries represent a 5.3% drop in DSR from the automaker’s outsized year-ago sales of over 246,000 vehicles. Toyota is expected to finish the month with YTD sales of 1.67 million, up 2.8%.

Honda’s DSR is also expected to fall from a strong year-ago result. The No.5 automaker should sell in excess of 155,000 LVs, dropping its DSR 3.6% and accounting for 10.1% of sales versus 10.6% last year. As forecast, Honda will finish August with a 1.2% YTD sales gain.

The WardsAuto forecast also calls for Nissan to sell 131,000 vehicles, while rival Hyundai Group should sell 123,000 Hyundai and Kia-brand vehicles.

At forecast levels, year-to-date sales through August would rise to 11.5 million units, up 3.5% over the first eight months of 2014.

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About the Author(s)

John Sousanis

Director, Information Content, WardsAuto

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