Used-car sales likely to reach 3.2 million in June

CARY, N.C. - 

Used-car sales this month could trend down a bit from May, but they should maintain the same annualized rate, according to Edmunds.

The company released its monthly industry sales projections on Wednesday, calling for approximately 3.2 million used-car sales in June. That’s down from 3.3 million in May.

However, the seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate is expected to remain at 38.6 million this month.

On the new-car side, Edmunds is calling for 1.48 million sales in June, which would be down 2.3 percent year-over-year and month-over-month as the market continues to slow.

“While six straight months of sales declines sounds troubling, June is sandwiched between two major holiday sales events, which makes it a bit of a gloomy month historically,” Edmunds executive director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell said in a news release. “Car shoppers are savvy enough to know automakers push the deals on holiday weekends and are willing to hold off on buying until they know they’re getting a hot bargain.”

The new-car SAAR for June would be 16.6 million.

The company said it is holding its annual forecast of 17.2 million new-car sales for full-year 2017, buoyed by economic strength and “enticing deals” in the second half.

Though down 2 percent from the best-ever year in 2016, hitting this mark would mean 2017 would have the fourth-highest new-car sales total ever.

Over at Cox Automotive, Kelley Blue Book is calling for 17.1 million new-car sales this year.

“We are moving into a ‘post-peak’ period for the U.S. auto industry,” Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for KBB parent company Cox Automotive, said in a news release.

“Many of the tailwinds that took the market to record sales in 2015 and 2016 are slowly becoming the headwinds that will keep new vehicle sales in check through the end of the decade,” he said.

KBB also noted a strong economy as a being a plus for new-car sales, it cited tailwinds like affordability and the 3.6 million cars expected to come off lease this year — vehicles that could be a less expensive, pre-owned alternative to new.

But that's not to say the new-car market is in dire straits by any stretch.

“Overall, despite slowing new-vehicle sales, we think the automotive market is healthy,” Smoke said. “Sales of approximately 17.1 million will make 2017 among the best years the industry has ever recorded. And the mix is strong, with profitable SUVs and crossovers dominating the market.”

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