(Reuters) – U.S. auto sales are expected to rise 5% in August from the same period a year ago, driven by strong volumes due to higher manufacturer incentives and higher average sales prices, according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.
The consultancies see total U.S. vehicle sales of about 1.62 million units in the month, with retail sales of new vehicles expected to rise 5.8% to 1,404,500 units.
“Strong volumes coupled with higher average sales prices means that consumers will spend more purchasing new vehicles in August than any month in history,” Thomas King, senior vice president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power, said.
Overall vehicle prices are seen touching new records in August as buyers pay more for latest sports utility vehicles (SUVs).
The consultancies estimate average new-vehicle sales price to reach $33,322, the highest level ever for the month of August, up 4% from last year.
Consumers are expected to spend a record $46.8 billion on new vehicles in August. This represents the highest level for any month, beating the previous high in December 2018 by $598 million.
Spending on manufacturer incentives during the month is on pace to reach 10.5%, up from 10.1% a year earlier.
The two consultancies reiterated that 2019 total light-vehicle sales would come in at 17 million units, a 1.7% drop from the previous year, but now expects retail sales to close at 13.6 million units, up from 13.5 million units, on stronger recent performance.
(Reporting by Dominic Roshan K. L. in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)