A new WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. light-vehicle sales to reach 1.42 million deliveries this month, equating to a daily sales rate of 56,897 units (over 25 days) – a 1.1% downturn from same-month year-ago (also 25 days).
The projected DSR represents a 1.8% decline from August (26 days), compared with the average 8% August-September decrease over the last three years.
The forecast 17.6 million SAAR is greater than 16.9 million from prior-month and the 17.2 million over the first eight months of the year.
August ended with 3.535 million light vehicles in stock, a 12-year high for the second straight month. September is expected to end with a 65 days’ supply, surpassing prior-month’s 62 days and year-ago’s 59.
Labor Day sales spiked incentive activity in the beginning of the month, but model-year ’16 sell-off and high inventory levels likely will cause discounting to continue through the rest of the month and into October.
Other indicators influencing the September forecast include an improvement in the Conference Board’s latest Consumer Present Situation Index and Expectations Index and an increase in employment and earnings, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The WardsAuto report calls for a 5.5% drop in Detroit Three automaker daily sales compared with year-ago. The group is expected to account for 44% of industry LV volume, down from 46% in like-2015.
General Motors is forecast to sell 245,000 LVs in September, a 2.4% decline in DSR to 9,807 units, and 17.2% of the industry total. Year-to-date, the automaker would be down 4.0% with 2,208,000 units.
Ford and Toyota are expected to finish neck-and-neck, both with 200,000 units, resulting in a 14.1% share. However, this means a 7.6% drop from year-ago in Ford’s DSR and a 3.1% gain for Toyota.
Over the first nine months of year, the forecast calls for Ford to sell 1,937,000 LVs (+0.4%) and Toyota to deliver 1,826,000 (-2.2%).
FCA’s daily sales are forecast to fall 7.1% from year-ago, equating to just under 180,000 deliveries and a 12.6% share. Despite the big drop in September, the automaker’s year-to-date total will sit 2.9% above year-ago on 1,691,000 units.
Honda is projected to improve the most of the top seven auto groups, 3.5% above year-ago, lifting the automaker’s share to 9.7% compared with 9.3% in prior-year. The 138,000 monthly deliveries would bring the January-September total to 1,233,211 LVs, up 3.8%.
The forecast calls for Nissan to sell 120,000 LVs, down 1.3%. The automaker would be up 4.7% year-to-date on 1,175,000 units.
Hyundai-Kia group is expected to deliver 116,000 vehicles, rising 1.6% from last year and bringing the 9-month total 2.4% ahead of like-2015.
At forecast levels, industry-wide year-to-date LV sales through September would come to 13.038 million units, up 0.3% over same-period 2015. WardsAuto expects 17.45 million LV sales in full-year 2016.