Kelley Blue Book predicts car sales will rise nearly 6 percent in June

(June 29, 2015) IRVINE, Calif. — New-vehicle sales are expected to increase 5.8 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.5 million units in June, resulting in an estimated 17.4 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book.

"With another month of new-car sales growth in June, the 16th in a row, the auto industry continues its incredibly strong momentum.  With a 17.4 million projected SAAR for June, it would mark the third month above 17 million out of the past four months," said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  "However, heading into the summer months, sales should flatten out at a more sustainable pace."

The expected 1.5 million units this month will bring the first-half of 2015 totals to 8.53 million, a 4.7 percent increase from the same time last year, and the highest first-half since 2005. 

Second-quarter sales will come in at 4.58 million units, a 3.9 percent increase year-over-year, and also the highest second quarter total since 2005.  In addition, total sales in 2015 are projected to hit 17.1 million units overall, a 3.6 year-over-year jump and the highest overall total since 2001.   

Key Highlights for Estimated June 2015 Sales Forecast:

    • In June, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to reach 1,500,000 units, up 5.8 percent from June 2014 and down 8 percent from May 2015.

    • The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for June 2015 is estimated to be 17.4 million, up from 16.8 million in June 2014 and down from 17.7 million in May 2015.

    • Retail sales are expected to account for 80.6 percent of volume in June 2015, up from 79.7 percent in June 2014.

"Kelley Blue Book anticipates positive numbers from nearly all manufacturers in June 2015, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could see the largest year-over-year gains," said Gutierrez.  "The surge in popularity of utility and truck models this year has been beneficial for Fiat Chrysler's Jeep and RAM brands, helping push the manufacturer to its highest U.S. market share since 2007."

Volkswagen Group is another manufacturer poised to report solid growth, thanks to the full model lineup of its redesigned Golf.  The Audi brand also is providing a boost with double-digit growth this year, while the overall luxury market is 7.4 percent higher than last year. 

As gas prices remain comparably low to the previous year, June should be another good month for utility and truck segment sales.  Year-to-date, SUV sales are up 11.9 percent, and with new models on the market such as the Honda HR-V, Kelley Blue Book expects even higher totals in June.

On the other hand, non-luxury cars will continue to lose share, with year-to-date sales down 5.2 percent.  While in June the industry should see slightly positive numbers for the compact and mid-size car segments, combined share will drop by nearly a full percentage point.