The US light vehicle market is heading for an October decline according to data specialists in the US.

A decline in October would be in keeping with recent analyst predictions that the US market is now losing some momentum – although the market continues to run at a high level by historical standards.

Edmunds forecasts that 1,356,250 new cars and trucks will be sold in the US in October for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 17.8m. That would be a 5.2% decrease from September 2016, and a 6.8% decrease from October 2015.

"On the surface, it might look like a slow month for sales, but in fact the industry's performance was much stronger than the raw numbers suggest," says Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. "Even with month-to-month and year-to-year sales decreases, a 17.8 million SAAR in October would tie for the highest monthly sales rate of 2016. And considering that there are no popular weekend sales events in October, automakers and dealers can feel encouraged by this month's performance as they head into what they hope will be a busy holiday season."

Edmunds' forecast for October chimes with that of Kelly Blue Book (KBB), which said it expects US vehicle sales to decline 6% year-over-year to a total of 1.36 million units in October 2016, resulting in an estimated 17.9 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).

KBB notes that fewer sales days are also a factor behind the headline decline.

"Kelley Blue Book expects October 2016 sales to come in at a robust 17.9 million SAAR; however, due to two fewer selling days and an extremely strong October 2015, there will be volume declines across the industry," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  "Higher incentives are helping boost sales, but with transaction prices at an all-time high and great consumer demand for SUVs and trucks, which are more profitable, automakers can afford the extra incentives.  Still, discipline with incentives and moderating production will go a long way in preserving residual values in the next few years."

After a record US sales total in 2015, Kelley Blue Book's full-year forecast for 2016 calls for sales in the range of 17.3 to 17.6 million, which would range from a 1% decrease to a possible 1% increase.