Report: May Auto Sales Expected to Improve

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May 29, 2019—Cox Automotive is forecasting May U.S. auto sales to decline nearly 3 percent from last year, falling to 1.54 million units. According to a press release, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is expected to rise slightly to 16.9 million, above April's 16.4 million level but below May 2018's 17.2 million pace.

May is a critical sales month for the industry as it is consistently in the top three for annual volume. A modest rebound in pace is expected as the summer selling season begins. Strong consumer confidence and employment gains continue to provide stable demand for light vehicles; however, affordability issues weigh on the market. Vehicle sales are down nearly 3 percent so far in 2019, and May sales are expected to follow this downward trend. Cox Automotive expects the vehicle market to return to a modest sales pace in May and continue on a path that ends with total sales of 16.8 million units in 2019, below last year's total of 17.3 million.

"If sales for the month exceed expectations, it is a strong indicator that a blazing summer sales season is ahead," said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist, Cox Automotive. "If sales fall below expectations, it may be the clearest signal yet that the market has shifted to a lower gear. It may be difficult to know for sure, though, even after sales results are in as volatility is a new participant in today's light-vehicle market."


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