US Auto Sales Still On Constant Decline Despite Retail Benefits Hike

Sep 29, 2016 08:36 AM EDT | Fritz Flores

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The US auto industry continues to head towards a downward trend in terms of sales, even with a conscious push for additional of consumer rebates, analysts say.

In a report published by J.D Power and LMC Automotive, it has been observed that overall sales for new automotive vehicles in the United States for September 2016 has dropped by at least a million units in comparison to its performance on the same month last year.

The same trend goes for retail sales to consumers which suffered a 1.4% decline for the same month. J.D. and LMC add that this has been the fifth time in a row within a seven-year timeframe that such decrease took place.

This behavior in sales continues to persist even with the conscious efforts of manufacturers to include more lucrative perks and incentives. Incentive spending for vehicles actually reached a new all-time high this month, according to an interview with Deirdre Borrego, senior vice president and general manager of automotive data and analytics at J.D. Power.

"Incentive spending thus far in September is at a record level of $3,923 per unit, surpassing the previous high of $3,753 set in December 2008," Borrego noted.

Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, adds that despite the slowly dwindling performance of vehicles sales-wise, this does not necessarily equate that the industry is at risk. In fact, they are expecting that this performance would remain as it is for quite some time.

"The expectation remains for steady volume levels at the topline, despite a pullback in the retail market and increased monthly performance volatility," he said while also noting that the industry is set to be more competitive with the increasing number of manufacturers trying to stand out from the pack.

"However, group and brand performance is beginning to diverge as competitive pressure is at an all-time high," Schuster added.

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