By Jeff Gilbert, CBS Detroit
TROY, MI — (WWJ) After an August that saw a post-recession sales peak, expect the car market to take a breather in September.
Part of it is an anomaly with this year’s calendar that saw much of Labor Day weekend pushed ahead into August.
“Labor Day certainly caused some sales, just from a reporting standpoint, to get lumped into the August number, which is one of the reasons why we saw such a robust August,” says Jeff Schuster, director of forecasting for LMC Automotive.
The major automakers report their September sales numbers on August 1st.
After seeing an annual sales rate of just over 16 million in August, LMC expects September’s sales rate to be one of the weakest of the year, in the mid fifteen millions. That would be an increase of only two percent from last year.
Schuster says the underlying issues—pent up demand, a slowly improving economy and easier access to credit—haven’t changed. So he sees an industry that remains on a growth trend, with August strong sales rate and September’s weak sales canceling each other out.
“Really, if you look at the two months and average them, it’s really in line with expectations for this time of year.”
August was the first time since before the recession that the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Sales Rate topped the 16 million mark. It had flirted with that number for several months earlier in the summer.
The 16 million mark, says Schuster, was not a one shot deal.
“Likely, October—or even December—there’s a likelihood we’ll see 16 again.”