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June Car Sales Likely to Show Slight Rebound

But Toyota, Honda still likely to be down sharply.

by on Jun.28, 2011

Toyota sales will likely be off sharply for June.

The U.S. auto industry should have a reason to celebrate over the upcoming Independence Day holiday; initial data suggest that increased industry discounting set off fireworks for consumers, sending them back to showrooms after May’s unexpected downturn.

But the trendline remains soft compared to the strong market of early 2011, and at least one study of consumer “intensity” suggests that the rebound may not last long, sales potentially slipping again in the months ahead.

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June’s apparent upturn suggests that consumers are opening their pocketbooks again now that fuel prices have retreated a bit from an early spring surge.  Meanwhile, manufacturers like Toyota have consciously bought momentum by ramping up their incentives.  Makers had consciously trimmed back their giveaways over the spring – in large part responding to product shortages created by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan.

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May Expected to Show Sales Slump

Shortages, lower incentives, rising fuel prices and uncertain economy all take some blame.

by on Jun.01, 2011

Rising prices, reduced incentives -- and shortages -- of popular Japanese products like the Prius had a harsh impact on May car sales.

It’s been a good year for the U.S. auto industry – or at least it was until last month, most manufacturers expected to report a slump in sales when they report May numbers this week.

Industry analysts blame a variety of factors for the downturn – which occurred during the month that normally marks the start of the annual spring buying season – notably including a shortage of Japanese-made products, the result of the March 11 natural disaster that devastated that country’s auto industry.

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In turn, makers have responded by trimming back rebates and other sales incentives – and when you add in the price hikes many manufacturers have taken in recent months, many potential buyers have decided to wait and see if better deals could follow later in the year, according to industry analysts.

“Overall automaker incentives (in May were) at the lowest levels we’ve seen in years,” said Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis at Edmunds.com. “These low incentives are making it increasingly difficult for consumers to find good deals.”

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