May 29, 2018 / 1:09 PM / 7 months ago

U.S. May auto sales expected to dip 1 percent: J.D. Power and LMC

General Motors assembly workers connect a battery pack underneath a partially assembled 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicle on the assembly line at Orion Assembly in Lake Orion, Michigan, U.S., March 19, 2018. Photo taken March 19, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

(Reuters) - U.S. automobile sales are expected to decline 1 percent year-over-year in May, industry consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said on Tuesday.

Retail sales of new vehicles in May are projected at 1.27 million units, down from a year earlier, when adjusting for an extra selling day this month, the consultancies said in a report. The forecast was based on the first 17 selling days of May.

Consumers are expected to spend $41.1 billion on new vehicles in May, nearly $2.7 billion higher than last year’s level, as prices rise, the report said.

The average new vehicle retail transaction price in May was $32,380, surpassing the previous May high of $31,188 set last year, it added.

The higher prices should help automakers, as the Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest car buying periods of the year, said Thomas King, senior vice president of data and analytics at J.D. Power.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate for retail auto sales is expected to be 13.4 million units, down 200,000 from a year ago, the report said.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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