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Timing of Labor Day to Drive Down August Sales by 4%, KBB Predicts

August 26, 2015

IRVINE, Calif. — New-vehicle sales are expected to decline 4% on year-over-year basis in August to 1.52 million units sold, according to Kelly Blue Book.

The decline is being attributed to the timing of Labor Day this year, with holiday sales helping to boost August sales totals last year. Despite the timing of the holiday, sales are still up 0.8% over July, and KBB is projecting a 17.2 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual rate for August.

“We remain confident that sales in August will remain robust; however, should the U.S. financial markets continue to falter, we could see demand for new cars soften in the short to medium term,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for KBB.

Despite a possible lull in demand, KBB does not expect to see the yearly sales pace deviate from its current 17 million-plus SAAR trajectory unless the markets decline further.

Toyota saw the largest decline in year-over-year sales in August, dropping 10.2% for the month to 221,000 units sold. Ford saw a slight gain of 0.3%, with monthly sales projected at 222,000 units. Ford’s slight projected increase is due to the F-150’s growing sales and available inventory following a slow launch, according to KBB.

The compact utility segment is projected to lead sales in January with several new available models at price points around $20,000. Gas prices have been consistently dropping for the past few months, which is also contributing to the segment's popularity. This is also contributing to a decline in car sales, the firm noted.

“As a result of moderate gas prices and increased interest in utility vehicles, we expect market share for cars to fall once again in August,” said Gutierrez.  “Year to date, sales of cars comprise 44.5% of the market, whereas they made up 47.3% of sales last year.”

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