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Incentives Return As Auto Sales Plateau

Aug 17, 2016

U.S. auto sales, through July 2016, were 1.1% ahead of last year’s record pace. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate (SAAR) rose to 17.86 million vehicles in July, the highest since November 2015. But several forecasters have reduced their outlook for the remainder of 2016, and some automakers are starting to fight the slowing sales with more aggressive incentives.

Manufacturers want to protect their market share which has led to increasing incentives. For instance, Autodata found the industry average incentive rose $337 (11%) in July 2016, compared to July 2015. Incentives seem to be rising faster for light trucks than for cars.

In the last seven months, automakers have sold nearly 10.2 million vehicles, nearly matching the industry’s full-year 2009 tally of 10.4 million. July was the fifth consecutive month in which sales topped 1.5 million units, marking only the third such streak in history, according to the Automotive News Data Center.