Edmunds predicts new vehicle sales to cool slightly in October

(October 26, 2018) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Edmunds forecasts that 1,322,340 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in October for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.1 million. This reflects a 6.7 percent decrease in sales from September and a 2.1 percent decrease from October 2017.

"The fourth quarter is off to a slow, but not alarming, start for the auto market," said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds manager of industry analysis.

"Last October, auto sales were somewhat spurred by replacement demand following Hurricane Harvey, which makes for a more complex year-over-year comparison. Rising interest rates and higher vehicle prices are also thinning the crowds of shoppers at dealerships, and that's a trend we see stretching into the new year."

Despite the headwinds the industry is facing, Edmunds experts note that auto sales remain at historically healthy levels.

"The auto market has been so strong over the last several years it's easy to forget that a SAAR over 17 million is nothing to sneeze at," Acevedo said. "But since sales are slowing, automakers and dealers will need to rally through November and December to move excess inventory off their lots. Car shoppers will likely see a slew of decent deals come this holiday sales season."

Edmunds estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 14.1 million vehicles in October, with fleet transactions accounting for 17.2 percent of total sales. An estimated 3.3 million used vehicles will be sold in October, for a SAAR of 39.6 million.