September 27, 2019 / 1:03 PM / 21 days ago

U.S. auto sales to fall 13.3% in September -J.D. Power, LMC Automotive

Sept 27 (Reuters) - U.S. auto sales are expected to dip 13.3% in September from a year earlier, hurt in part by higher prices that dampened consumer spending, industry consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said on Friday.

Consumers are expected to spend $33.9 billion on new vehicles in September, down about 12% from last year, while the average new-vehicle retail price is expected to set a record for the quarter at $33,709, the consultants said.

They estimate total U.S. vehicle sales of about 1.24 million units in September, with retail sales of new vehicles expected to fall 15.2% to about 1.01 million units.

The large decline in September sales was also driven by the timing of Labor Day, as sales from the holiday weekend were included in August instead of September, according to the report.

Overall light vehicle demand in the U.S. remains healthy even as the global sales outlook continues to weaken, the consultants said. “Looking ahead to the final quarter of the year, consumer affordability will continue to be aided by recent rate reductions,” Thomas King, senior vice president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power, said in a statement.

However, “lower discounts on new 2020 model year vehicles could result in a slower sales pace in the fourth quarter than we saw this quarter,” King said.

Average incentive spending per unit is expected to reach $4,208 in September, up from $4,014 last year.

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said they expect total light-vehicle sales for 2019 to be above the 17.0 million-unit level, a decline of 1.3% from 2018. (Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru: Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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