2017 to Represent First New-Car Sales Decline in Seven Years

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May 25, 2017—New vehicle sales are expected to remain flat year-over-year at a total of 1.53 million units in May 2017, resulting in an estimated 16.7 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book.

"We could see a positive month for the industry for the first time this year in May, but Kelley Blue Book expects totals to finish about even year-over-year, despite one extra selling day in 2017," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "Retail numbers for May are expected to finish strong, however they continue to be supported by considerable incentives and lease subvention. In recent months, leasing appears to be reaching its peak, which is expected, given declining residual values and which is contributing to this year's slowing sales."

After a record year of sales in 2016 and seven consecutive year-over-year sales increases, Kelley Blue Book's forecast for 2017 calls for sales in the range of 16.8 million to 17.3 million units, which represents a 1 to 4 percent decrease from last year.

Key highlights for estimated May 2017 sales forecast:

  • In May, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to hit 1,525,000 units, flat compared to May 2016 and up 7 percent from April 2017.
  • The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for May 2017 is estimated to be 16.7 million, down from 17.1 million in May 2016 and down slightly from 16.8 million in April 2017.
  • Retail sales are expected to account for 80.5 percent of volume in May 2017, slightly up from 78.9 percent in May 2016.


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