The US car buyers are showing signs of fatigue, raising concerns over the broader outlook for consumer spending—a key engine of U.S. Growth. Sales of light vehicles in the U.S. have increased for six straight years, touching a record 17.5 million units in 2015, and are potentially on track for another record this year.
But sales now appear to have plateaued, leading to a buildup of inventory and a return to discounting—something auto makers swore off when emerging from the recession. Dealership sales, measured in dollars, fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in November from the prior month. Light-vehicle sales, in units, were up 0.1% through November, compared with the same period in 2015, according, but that small gain is due to increases in sales to fleet buyers, such as car-rental firms.