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Flat Incentives, Economic Blahs Kill August Sales

Mid-term elections loom large as Congress vacations.

by on Aug.31, 2010

Neither party appears to have a plan to restore middle class jobs.

New-vehicle retail sales in the last week of August slowed considerably, pulling down the August selling rate below 8.5 million units, according to the latest data from J.D. Power and Associates.

For total sales, the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) is expected to come in below 11.4 million units, with fleet sales offsetting some of the weakness in retail sales.

This is far below the 16-17 million unit years the industry thrived on earlier in the decade, and the latest indicator – among many – that the U.S. economy is in trouble.

The final sales numbers, which will be out tomorrow as auto makers report shipments, increase the pressure on the incumbent Obama Administration to do something about the ongoing Great Recession and staggering levels of unemployment in the stalled U.S. economy.

While Republicans remain critical over deficit spending, the party that presided over the reckless practices of Wall Street that led to the current economic collapse are offering no ideas on how to get what was once $13 trillion in U.S. gross domestic production back on track, as businesses continue to cost cut, not invest,  and consumers stay home.

“With mixed economic signals and flat incentive levels, there hasn’t been enough horsepower behind the recovery to motivate consumers to regain their confidence and purchase vehicles at a higher rate,” said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. “In addition, it’s likely that new-vehicle buyers are holding off on purchases in anticipation of Labor Day incentives, which may benefit September sales.”

Power gathers real-time transaction data from more than 8,900 retail franchisees throughout the United States, and is generally accurate in its forecasts.

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