July light-vehicle sales are expected to jump 18% year-over-year in the U.S. to 1.33 million, continuing a year to date of gains as pandemic recovery continues, S&P Global Mobility says.
That translates to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.1 million units.
Fleet sales demand has stayed steady this month while retail deliveries have kept rising, S&P says, despite high prices and interest rates.
"From both an economic growth and auto demand perspective, the first half of 2023 has proven once again that one shouldn't doubt the spending capacity of US consumers," said Principal Analyst Chris Hopson of the data and analytics provider.
Given the results, S&P upgraded its full-year light-vehicle sales forecast from 15.1 million units to 15.4 million. It said the year’s second half could prove unpredictable, depending on how vehicle affordability conditions swing.
One unknown it noted are union negotiations under way that could affect supply.
"With some US manufacturers maintaining higher levels of inventory in relation to demand, North American production levels are expected to slow later this year, with the reduced volume effectively acting as risk mitigation for the high probability of a union strike," said Joe Langley, associate director, light vehicle production forecasting.