U.S. auto sales have shown no signs of weakening this month after a blowout performance in May, with forecasters projecting an industrywide gain of about 5% to close out the best spring in a decade.
Automotive News reported that forecasters at LMC Automotive and Kelley Blue Book each raised their full-year sales forecasts to 17.1 million, matching TrueCar. Sales are on pace to surpass 8.5 million units in the first half of the year — marking the industry’s best first half and second quarter since 2005, when employee-discount-for-everyone deals caused a surge in demand.
“This is arguably the strongest and healthiest the auto industry has been in a very long time,” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC, said in a statement.
“A green light outlook across a basket of metrics — including economic support, gas prices, the stock market, higher and stable transaction prices and significant product activity — is behind our forecast of a 17.1 million unit pace in the second half of 2015.”
LMC estimates consumer spending on new vehicles in the first half of 2015 to reach a record $206.2 billion, $11.6 billion more than the same period last year.
Sales are expected to total about 1.5 million in June, which would result in a first-half gain of 4.7%. To hit 17 million for the year, a threshold last crossed in 2001, sales in the second half would need to rise just 1.1% from year-earlier levels.
TrueCar and KBB each project the industry’s seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate to be 17.4 million in June. That would be less than May’s rate of 17.8 million — the best May on record — but more than the June 2014 rate of 16.9 million.
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