May car sales: Does anyone still want to buy a new car?

Automakers are expected to report flat US car sales in May vs. a year earlier after demand fell in the first four months of 2017. Smaller and crossover SUVs are expected to offset continued weakness in cars, with General Motors likely to be the biggest beneficiary. Fiat Chrysler and Ford Motor are likely to see new-vehicle sales fall. Japanese automakers such as Honda should eke out tiny gains while South Korea’s Hyundai-Kia, with far more cars in the vehicle mix, could see the biggest drop. Tesla does not provide monthly sales figures. Tesla will soon start rolling out its mass-market Model 3 sedan, although its Model X is missing out on America’s ever-growing love affair with SUVs.

A total of 1.53 million new light vehicles may have sold in May, for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.7 million. Though strong historically, they add to evidence that Americans’ appetite for new cars is on the wane. Hefty vehicle incentives and subsidies on leases helped to prop up sales in May. Consumers are continuing to defect from the midsize car segment at a rapid pace. Read more

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