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U.S. auto sales seen falling in February: J.D. Power, LMC Automotive

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(Reuters) – U.S. auto sales are expected to drop about 1 percent in February from a year earlier partly due to inclement weather, according to industry consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

The consultancies see U.S. total vehicle sales of about 1.29 million units in February.

The year is off to its slowest start since 2014, according to the industry consultants.

Retail sales in February are expected to reach 946,600 units in February, a 2.4 percent fall from a year earlier, the consultancies said on Monday.

The industry should expect to receive a slight boost in the coming months with the recovery of any lost sales due to inclement weather, said Thomas King, senior vice-president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power.

However, average transaction price is on pace to reach $33,267, the highest ever.

Elevated transaction prices remain a bright spot for the industry and continue to help manufacturers maintain profitability amid reduced sales volumes, King said in a statement.

LMC also forecast 2019 total light-vehicle sales of 17 million units, a decline of 1.9 percent from 2018, provided there is no material impact from U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports.

Earlier this month, the National Automobile Dealers Association announced that U.S. light-vehicle sales fell by 3 percent in January due to the partial government shutdown.

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