Kelley Blue Book (KBB) expects new vehicle sales in the US to rise 1% year on year to 1.44m units in September 2017, resulting in an estimated 17.5m seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), with demand boosted by demand for new vehicles to replace those destroyed in the recent spate of hurricanes in south eastern states.

"September will be another opportunity for the first sales increase of the year, as we project slight growth for the industry," said KBB analyst Tim Fleming.

"While major hurricanes devastated parts of Texas and Florida in the past month, this is driving replacement demand for those drivers with vehicles destroyed. This demand has already started in some areas, but will continue into October and potentially November, as vehicle insurance pay outs are received."

KBB noted most consumers are likely to buy used but, with prices trending upward recently, some used buyers may opt to purchase new. In addition, many automakers are offering hurricane relief incentives of up to US$1,000. In these areas, car segments are likely to be considered more, as these vehicles are the most affordable and in plentiful supply. Nationally, demand is still shifting steadily toward SUVs.

Retail sales are expected to account for 85.8% of volume this month, up from 85.3% a year ago.

After a record year of sales in 2016 and seven consecutive annual increases, KBB's forecast for 2017 calls for sales in the range of 16.8 and 17.3m units, which represents a 1 to 4% decrease from last year.

Analysts anticipate another month of mixed new car sales results for manufacturers.

Toyota could have the best month of all automakers with projected growth of 9.5%, which would be the manufacturer's most significant year on year increase since December 2015. Sales of the RAV4 crossover are surging, as it has become the top selling model outside of pickup trucks, and this month looks strong for the vehicle as well. Meanwhile, the redesigned Camry is growing in availability and could offer a nice sales lift.

Hyundai-Kia, in contrast, could see its biggest declines, losing nearly one point of market share, KBB said. The automakers' SUVs are posting sales gains, including the Hyundai Tucson, but the ranges still lean heavily on cars which are struggling. Some models like the Kia Soul and Forte could have a good month but KBB expects the brands' cars could fall by 15% overall. Half of these sales declines are attributed to fleet and rental reductions versus last year.


Compact SUVs remain the top US segment and are expected to gain market share. Aside from the Toyota RAV4, which could top 40,000 sales for the third month in a row, several redesigned products are helping drive segment growth, including the Chevrolet Equinox, Subaru Crosstrek and GMC Terrain, all of which could see sales increases upwards of 40%. Year to date, sales in this segment are up just 2%, but this represents significant volume given the annual sales total could reach 3m units.

Mid-size SUVs also are on the rise, with growth headlined by the redesigned Chevrolet Traverse and the all-new Volkswagen Atlas. A 5% increase in sales is expected for this segment in September 2017.

There are 26 sales days in September 2017 compared to 25 in September 2016.