POST TIME: 3 August, 2017 00:00 00 AM
Carmakers struggle to lure US buyers in July

Carmakers struggle to lure US buyers in July

AFP, CHICAGO:  American consumers’ appetite for cars eased significantly in July, as the industry continued to slow from last year’s record pace, according to sales figures released Tuesday.

Many car makers posted double digit declines—including General Motors and the US arm of Fiat Chrysler—leading to an industry-wide decline of seven per cent compared to the same period last year and a four-per cent decline from June.

Toyota was the lone exception among the biggest players in the North American market, posting a jump in sales attributed to its popular RAV4 compact SUV.

Demand for SUVs and light trucks remained a bright spot and helped buoy the industry’s selling prices, but incentives to lure in customers also increased, mostly for slower-selling compact models and sedans.

Analysts expected sales to pick up for the remainder of the year, as consumers pay more attention to incentives and companies offer deals to move older models off the lots to make room for 2018 inventory.

The July sales pace amounted to an annual rate of 16.73 million units, seasonally adjusted, down from 17.81 million at this time last year.

“Sales tend to come down and cool off in June and July,” Kelly Blue Book (KBB) analyst Alec Gutierrez told reporters in a conference call.

“We’re going to see greater volume in August and September,” he said, while cautioning that the industry was unlikely to match record sales in 2016, when it sold 17.55 million automobiles in the US.