August U.S. auto sales drop, carmakers say industry has peaked. Bobbi Rebell reports.
New data showing the auto industry's growth spurt may be stalling out. The biggest U.S. automakers reported weaker sales in August, saying a long-expected sales decline has begun or, at best, hit a plateau. Sales at GM were down about five percent, while Ford was off by more then eight. The slide came after surpassingly strong results in July, and were widely anticipated by analysts. Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Autotrader. (SOUNDBITE) MICHELLE KREBS, SENIOR ANALYST, AUTOTRADER, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There is an affordability issue. Wages are not going up. That's an economic indicator that hasn't moved. Maybe we're seeing signs that it will. And, yet, prices of other things, including cars, have gone up, and, so, survey people tell us, more than half of surveyed say 'I can't afford a new car.' So, that is going to become an issue going forward." Krebs warned lower sales may spark a shift to more customer incentives, a slow down in production, and potentially more fleet sales. Both General Motors and Ford said they don't expect 2016 sales to repeat the record high from last year. Ford also said it expects to ring up fewer sales in 2017 than this year. Fiat Chrysler sales were up three percent versus a year ago. But that came after the company restated its August 2015 sales downward, and revised more than five years of monthly U.S. vehicle sales numbers amid an investigation into claims of inflated figures. Sales number of other automakers, like Toyota, Nissan, and Honda, were also down.