U.S. auto sales slightly declined in August 0.2% to 1.48 million vehicles as the growing demand of pickups, crossovers and SUVs couldn’t offset the lack of interest for passenger cars. Year-to-date sales through August are now of 11.47 million vehicles, which is still a 1.1% gain compared to the same eight-month period of last year.
However, the fact that last month's sales could not exceed those of August 2017, when a hurricane stalled markets in the Houston area and Florida, shows that during the second half of the year the market will cool down, resulting in the second annual sales decline in a row.
According to AutoNews, the seasonally adjusted, annualized rate (SAAR) was 16.69 million vehicles in August, the lowest in a year. The SAAR was 16.58 million in August 2017 and 16.73 million last July. Until July, the SAAR had topped 17 million every month dating back to August 2017.
The U.S. market is destination to 71.6% of Mexico’s auto exports. During the first quarter of 2018 598,028 units were shipped to the United States. Such figure represents 14.6% of total U.S. sales during that period.
Last month, auto dealers in Mexico sold 118,715 vehicles, 5.3% less units than those marketed in August 2017, marking the fifteenth straight month of sales declines. From January through August, a total 913,726 cars and light trucks have been marketed in the country, representing a 7.8% drop compared to the same eight-month period of 2017.
“We continue to face adverse conditions in the face of the loss of purchasing power of subcompact car consumers and upward pressures on interest rates,” said Guillermo Rosales, director of the Mexican Association of Auto Dealers (AMDA). The AMDA forecasts 1.45 million vehicles will be sold in 2018.
New light vehicle sales fell for a sixth straight month in Canada during August but still posted the second-best August on record, according to the latest data from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (PDF). Sales decreased 1.6% to 180,942 vehicles from 183,945 units the prior year.
Sales in the first eight months of the year totaled 1,392,936 units, a 0.8% drop if compared to the record figure of 1,404,847 vehicles from the same period of 2017.
Passenger car sales dropped 10.6% to 52,842 while light trucks deliveries were up 2.6% to 128,100 units.
Ford was the volume leader with sales rising 7.1%, allowing it to overtake General Motors's leading position last year.
According to analysts consulted by Reuters, one of the main reasons Canadian consumers are being cautious about buying new vehicles is the hike of interest rates, which the Bank of Canada has increased four times so far this year, while signaling more hikes may come as the country grapples with the pressures of rising inflation.
The latest public data available show that Canada is the second most important destination for Mexico’s auto exports with 61,721 vehicles during the first quarter of 2018, accounting for 7.4% of the country’s shipments. However, those figures represent a 5.8% decline if compared to the same period of 2017.