U.S. auto sales show signs of flattening out

DETROIT — U.S. car buyers are tapping the brakes.

Sales of cars, trucks and SUVs fell 6 percent last month, to 1.54 million, according to AutoData Corp. It was the biggest monthly drop in nearly six years. The decline was unusual for May, a month when Americans typically buy cars ahead of summer road trips.

Most major automakers reported lower sales. General Motors’ sales fell 18 percent, Ford’s slipped 6 percent and Toyota’s sales dropped 10 percent compared with the same month a year ago. Volkswagen’s sales sank 17 percent. Fiat Chrysler and Subaru bucked the trend, with sales up 1 percent each, and Hyundai’s sales jumped 12 percent.

The declines could be a sign that U.S. auto sales are finally reaching a plateau after six straight years of growth — a streak not seen since the 1920s. Sales rose 6 percent between 2014 and 2015 but are only up 1.2 percent so far this year.

The May results were enough for LMC Automotive, a forecasting firm, to lower its full-year sales prediction to 17.7 million, down from its previous target of 17.8 million.

Other analysts were quick to point out that even if sales have hit a plateau, they can still break last year’s record of 17.5 million.

“The sky is not falling,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with Autotrader.com.

Flattening sales could be good for consumers, at least in the short term. Automakers are offering more discounts in order to keep sales growing. Car-buying site TrueCar.com estimated that incentive spending rose 7 percent in May to average of $3,034 per vehicle.

But those discounts can hurt resale values and automakers’ profits, so companies have to be careful as they deal with a dip in demand.

Shares of both GM and Ford fell around 3 percent Wednesday, reflecting investors’ fears that the companies can no longer count on easy U.S. sales increases. GM’s shares closed at $30.22 while Ford ended the day at $13.11.

This May also had one less weekend than last May, which could account for some of the decline. Ford said sales were strong over Memorial Day weekend.

At General Motors Co., the Chevrolet and Buick brands saw big declines. Sales of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, the company’s best-seller, dropped 13 percent. GM blamed tight supplies of new products, including the Chevrolet Cruze small car, as well as planned reductions in sales to rental car fleets. GM’s rental car sales were down 49 percent.

Ford Motor Co. said sales of its F-Series pickup rose 9 percent and its luxury Lincoln brand saw a 7 percent sales increase. But that couldn’t make up for a 26-percent decline in car sales. Ford’s SUV sales were flat. Ford’s overall sales dropped 6 percent to 235,997.

Toyota Motor Corp. said sales of cars dropped 16 percent while SUV and truck sales fell 2.5 percent. Sales of the Prius hybrid plummeted 36 percent.

Honda Motor Co. said sales fell 5 percent. Honda brand sales fell just 3 percent, and the HR-V subcompact SUV saw a 15 percent sales gain. But sales at the Acura division dropped 20 percent.

Nissan Motor Co.’s sales fell 1 percent to 133,496. Sales of Nissan and Infiniti trucks and SUVs rose 6 percent, but car sales fell.

Volkswagen brand sales dropped 17 percent to 28,779 as the fallout continues from the German automaker’s diesel emissions cheating scandal.

Revamped SUVs helped Hyundai sales rise 12 percent to 71,006. Sales of the Santa Fe SUV more than doubled over last year.

Fiat Chrysler sold just over 204,000 vehicles for its best May in 11 years. The all-SUV Jeep brand led the way with sales up 14 percent. But Chrysler brand sales fell 19 percent as car sales faltered. Ram pickup sales fell 3 percent.

Subaru’s sales also rose 1 percent to 50,083. Sales of its best-seller, the Forester SUV, were up 1 percent.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like