August 27, 2018 / 1:24 PM / a year ago

U.S. new vehicle retail sales seen rising 1.3 percent in August: JD Power and LMC

FILE PHOTO - Cars are seen in a parking lot in Palm Springs, California, U.S. on April 13, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

(Reuters) - Retail sales of new vehicles in the United States are expected to rise 1.3 percent in August from a year earlier to record their largest gain so far this year, industry consultants JD Power and LMC Automotive said on Monday.

Retail sales are forecast to reach 1.28 million units, compared with 1.26 million a year ago.

The sales are expected to gain with no large disruptions from storms this year, said Thomas King, senior vice president of JD Power’s data and analytics division.

Last year, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma made landfall during the end of August, affecting Labor Day sales events, JD Power and LMC said.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate for the month will be 16.8 million vehicles, up from 16.5 million units in the same month in 2017, they said.

The forecast is based on the first 16 selling days of the month.

“The auto industry still faces a prolonged and elevated level of trade risk, but overall sales are holding steady,” said Jeff Schuster, president of Americas Operations and Global Vehicle Forecasts at LMC Automotive.

The consultants said average incentive spending per vehicle to date in August is $3,744, down from $3,886. The decline in incentive spending continues to be driven by reduced spending on cars, down $448, while spending on trucks and SUVs is up $22.

LMC raised its 2018 forecast for total light-vehicle sales to 17.2 million, or 20,000 vehicles higher than 2017.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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