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Automakers Brace for September Sales Slide

But industry is still running ahead of early-2013 forecasts.

by on Sep.27, 2013

By a fluke of the calendar, Labor Day sales wound up in the August column this year.

Are the cool days of autumn coming faster than anticipated? Preliminary numbers suggest that the automotive sales boom, at least, is cooling down after a torrid summer that took almost everyone by surprise.

Though the industry won’t release final numbers until next week, the sales pace has clearly slowed during September, according to reports from both manufacturers and analysts alike. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales, or SAAR, is projected to fall from a hot 16.1 million units in August to something closer to 15.2 million this month.

The Last Word!

“September 2013 new-vehicle sales represent the first year-over-year drop since May 2011, due to slower retail sales, two fewer sales days in the month, and this year’s Labor Day sales included in August 2013 totals,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

On the positive side, the summer surge means that 2013 is still likely to be the industry’s best year since before the nation’s economy collapsed – and sales seem on track to surpass the forecasts most experts made early in 2013 which called for volume to slide somewhere between 15.0 and 15.5 million.