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August Car Sales Expected to Fall, Toyota in Trouble

Car companies have enough to worry about in China that they should not have to be troubled in the United States. However, new car sales are expected to drop by 4% in August, compared to the same month a year ago. Most of the punishment will be in Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) sales, which are forecast to drop 10.2%.

Kelley Blue Book experts anticipate that:

New-vehicle sales are expected to decline 4 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.52 million units in August 2015, resulting in an estimated 17.2 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) … Industry sales are expected to decline in comparison to this time last year because auto sales from Labor Day weekend in 2014 were included in last year’s August results. This year, the Labor Day weekend sales days will be included in the September 2015 results, so the shift in the timing of Labor Day this year impacts the year-over-year results.

The Labor Day excuse is a good one, but it does not hide the fact that U.S. cars sales increases have tapered off.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) may be the only car company that can celebrate August sales, as it sells more of its flagship product:

One manufacturer that could buck this trend is Ford, with its F-150 growing both in sales and available inventory, following a slow launch earlier this year. Ford F-Series sales, the best-selling nameplate in the country, are down 1.3 percent through July.

Sales of the F-150 have been sluggish so far this year.

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While Toyota is the only manufacturer that faces a double-digit drop, many of its rivals will not do much better:

  Sales Volume 1 Market Share 2
Manufacturer Aug-15 Aug-14 YOY % Aug-15 Aug-14 YOY %
General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC) 258,000 272,423 -5.3% 17.0% 17.2% -0.2%
Ford (Ford, Lincoln) 222,000 221,373 0.3% 14.6% 14.0% 0.6%
Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) 221,000 246,100 -10.2% 14.5% 15.5% -1.0%
Fiat Chrysler (Chrysler, Dodge, FIAT, Jeep, Ram) 192,000 198,379 -3.2% 12.6% 12.5% 0.1%
American Honda (Acura, Honda) 154,000 167,038 -7.8% 10.1% 10.6% -0.4%
Nissan North America (Infiniti, Nissan) 128,000 134,388 -4.8% 8.4% 8.5% -0.1%
Hyundai-Kia 124,000 124,670 -0.5% 8.2% 7.9% 0.3%
Volkswagen (Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche) 55,000 56,822 -3.2% 3.6% 3.6% 0.0%
Total 3 1,520,000 1,582,675 -4.0%
1 Historical data from OEM sales announcements
2 Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights
3 Includes brands not shown