U.S. new-vehicle sales are expected to rise very slightly in May from a year ago, narrowly snapping the industry’s streak of four consecutive monthly declines. Analysts expect 2017 sales of 17.2 million, 2 percent fewer than the record 17.55 million sold last year. The annualized selling rate is projected to be less than 17 million for a third consecutive month, more evidence that the market has passed its peak. That would mean the industry will already have had as many sub-17 million months in 2017 as it did in each of the past two full years.
Other forecasts project sales-volume increases of no more than 0.5 percent. That’s in spite of the month having one more selling day than May 2016. Many automakers are counting on showroom traffic over the long Memorial Day weekend to put May into positive territory. Generous incentives are keeping traffic flowing to dealer lots, but a lot is riding on Memorial Day sales for automakers to keep momentum strong through the crucial summer selling months. Read more