September Sales Pace Slows, but Still on Track

Market Watch

The Sep­tem­ber month­ly sales fore­cast devel­oped joint­ly by J.D. Pow­er and LMC Auto­mo­tive indi­cates over­all small­er gains than in recent months.

Learn more about the Sep­tem­ber auto sales fore­cast as the month winds down.

The new-vehi­cle sales pace in Sep­tem­ber has slowed slight­ly from its sprint in recent months, as vol­ume is impact­ed by few­er sell­ing days and the absence of Labor Day from Sep­tem­ber tal­lies, accord­ing to a month­ly sales fore­cast devel­oped joint­ly by J.D. Pow­er and LMC Auto­mo­tive.

Retail Light-Vehi­cle Sales New-vehi­cle retail sales in Sep­tem­ber 2013 are pro­ject­ed to come in at 933,400 units, a 2 per­cent increase from Sep­tem­ber 2012. Retail trans­ac­tions are the most accu­rate mea­sure of true under­ly­ing con­sumer demand for new vehi­cles. The sea­son­al­ly adjust­ed annu­al­ized rate (SAAR) in Sep­tem­ber is expect­ed to be 12.4 mil­lion units.

“Although the year-over-year sales gain in Sep­tem­ber is small­er than has been observed in recent months, it’s impor­tant to rec­og­nize that Sep­tem­ber report­ed sales are being heav­i­ly influ­enced by a quirk on the indus­try sales cal­en­dar,” said John Humphrey, senior vice pres­i­dent of the glob­al auto­mo­tive prac­tice at J.D. Pow­er.

The auto indus­try reports sales on a sales month basis rather than a cal­en­dar month basis. His­tor­i­cal­ly, the Labor Day hol­i­day has fall­en in the Sep­tem­ber sales month; how­ev­er, in 2013, it fell in the August sales month, mean­ing that sales deliv­ered over the hol­i­day week­end were count­ed in August sales rather than Sep­tem­ber. J.D. Pow­er esti­mates that more than 248,000 new vehi­cles were sold dur­ing the Labor Day week­end. Had those sales been includ­ed in Sep­tem­ber, LMC Auto­mo­tive indi­cates they would have lift­ed the month­ly SAAR into the low 13 mil­lion unit range.

Humphrey com­ment­ed that due to this dif­fer­ence in the sales report­ing cal­en­dar in 2013, it makes sense to eval­u­ate August and Sep­tem­ber sales in com­bi­na­tion.

“When com­bined, August and Sep­tem­ber retail sales are expect­ed to be up 10.6 per­cent, com­pared with August and Sep­tem­ber 2012, which under­scores the con­tin­ued pos­i­tive tra­jec­to­ry in growth and over­all health of the indus­try,” said Humphrey.

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