Cox Automotive is forecasting 1.38 million U.S. auto sales in July, which would represent a 0.5% increase from the same time last year.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate is expected to drop to 16.6 million compared to last July's 16.7 million SAAR. Although July 2019 is expected to have a higher sales volume than July 2018, the fact that July 2019 had an extra sales day caused the SAAR to drop.
"Strong consumer confidence and employment gains are supporting stable demand for light vehicles," said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist, Cox Automotive. "However, affordability issues continue to weigh on the market. The estimated average transaction price for a new light vehicle in the U.S. is $37,285 in the most recent Kelley Blue Book report, and we do not see this number coming down."
Through the first six months of 2019, auto sales are down 2.2% — 200,000 units — year-over-year.
Fleet sales have been a strong factor supporting the new vehicle-market through the first half of the year, noted Cox Automotive. Fleet sales are expected to remain strong through the rest of the year.
Cox Automotive is forecasting General Motors and Hyundai Kia to see the biggest sales boost in July. The biggest decline is expected to come from American Honda.