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Auto Sales in 2015 on Pace to Reach All-Time Record

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Aug. 10, 2015—Total U.S. vehicle sales in 2015 could reach the industry’s all-time record, according to a report by David Phillips of Automotive News.

Light trucks and summer promotions helped drive up sales in July to the second strongest in almost 10 years. General Motors expects to see its midsize car sales jump when the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu ships in the fall and new offerings such as the latest Nissan Altima, redesigned Honda Civic and the updated Tacoma pickup will all factor into keeping up the record-breaking pace.

"We're pretty much on track for the second best year in history," said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst at Edmunds.com, according to the report by Automotive News.

After July’s sales were taken into account, Caldwell raised the 2015 sales forecast from 16.8 million to 17.2 million. The industry’s record, set in 2000, is 17.4 million.

In July, light-vehicle sales rose by 5.3 percent, paced by light-truck sales, which jumped 13 percent, offsetting a 2.7 percent drop in car sales. Ford, Nissan North America, GM, American Honda Motor Co., Hyundai-Kia and Fiat Chrysler all had gains between 5 and 8 percent. Subaru had its sixth double-digit advance of the year.

The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) jumped to 17.55 million, the second highest level since January 2006. May, the highest reported month, reached 17.69 million. The SAAR has now topped 17 million in four out of the seven months this year and new product releases could help it stay there.

"This feels like more of a real 17-million-plus month and not one based on calendar quirks," said Mark Wakefield, AlixPartners' auto analyst, according to the report by Automotive News. "There's nothing special about July except that there's really nothing bad happening. So consumers who aren't worried and respond to the positive factors like jobs and economic growth and low gas prices."

"I see no reason for us to doubt we're going to have a SAAR at 17 million or higher," said Fred Diaz, Nissan’s senior vice president for U.S. sales and marketing, according to David Phillips’ report.

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