Forecast: U.S. auto sales to increase 3% in May

Forecast: U.S. auto sales to increase 3% in May

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An extra selling day and Memorial Day discounts would’ve increased auto sales up to 3% in the U.S. market during May, according to three different forecasts from consulting and analysis firms.

Cox Automotive and LMC Automotive/J.D. Power (PDF) expect sales to reach around 1.56 million vehicles in May for a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate (SAAR) of sales of 16.6 million units. If so, it would be the industry's third increase in the first five months of 2018, but it would also mean the end of an eight months streak with SAAR over 17 million units. Meanwhile, Edmunds forecasts a 16.7 million SAAR.

Given those figures, the LMC Automotive/J.D. Power increased its full-year light-vehicle sales forecast to 17.1 million units from 17 million, while Cox kept it at 16.7 million vehicles, although it doesn’t rule out an upward revision at the end of the second quarter. Automakers will release May sales figures on Friday. 

The U.S. market is the main destination for Mexico’s auto exports with 68.1% of total shipments heading to the Northern neighbor during the first quarter, according to the latest figures available from the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA).

According to Ward’s Auto, Mexico-made vehicles accounted for 14.6% of U.S. auto sales in the first three months of 2018.


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