As August comes to a close and buyers get ready for Labor Day and the September auto market, J.D. Power and Associates is revealing that according to their numbers, new car retail sales have crumbled toward the end of the month. This clashes with some other reports, like the positive estimates of firms like TrueCar earlier in August, and some glowing numbers from an array of car makers. In assessments of year-over-year sales. J. D. Power, using what they call a seasonally adjusted annualized rate or SAAR, does concede that August numbers appear to be better than those of July, but mentions a decline in the “total light-vehicle selling rate” that indicates the last days of August were not particularly fruitful for the new car industry across the board.
J. D. Power, in its report Aug. 31, lays out some potential reasons for the declining numbers: one is that with highly advertised Labor Day sales, many new car customers may have been waiting to purchase this coming weekend. However, there’s another big blip on the radar that car companies were not anticipating: J.D. Power also cites Hurricane Irene as an obstacle for new car buyers. That the enormous storm hitting the Eastern Seaboard hard would temporarily topple auto sales is just common sense, since many prospective customers were huddled inside their homes, then dealing with flooding, storm damage or power outages. The auto analyst firm predicts that numbers will climb back up in September, but also mentioned financial troubles as a more long-term indicator depressing the auto market. The latest news from outlets like NPR suggests that the auto market is doing better than many other parts of the general retail sector, but it’s anybody’s guess as to exactly how the threat of a double dip recession will influence the numbers for the rest of the year. What’s clear is that with new 2012 inventories hitting American lots, those who do buy will be paying a bit more for their purchases. When you are contemplating a new car purchase, look for the best current pricing and financing offers to make sure that you get the most that you can for what you can afford.