IRVINE, Calif. — New-vehicle sales are expected improve 13.6 percent in August 2013 to a total of 1.46 million units, Kelley Blue Book reported last week.

While affordable financing and generous incentive offers continue to more than offset any downside risk associated with steadily rising average transaction prices, low supply continues to impede the growth of major automakers such as Ford, Subaru and Hyundai.  Given current market conditions, Kelley Blue Book believes that sales will remain on track to hit 15.6 million units in 2013. 

Honda has enjoyed tremendous growth so far this year, with sales up more than 8.4 percent year to date through July, thanks to the success of the redesigned Accord, Civic and CR-V.  As for Ford, the automaker isn’t expected to post double-digit gains this month, but it has seen sales volume improve nearly 13 percent so far this year, benefitting from its own batch of well-received redesigns. 

“Most automakers are seeing double-digit sales increases compared to last year as retail sales remain a bright spot, even with more new models entering the market,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.  “Subaru continues to shine, estimated to be up 30 percent this month even with capacity constraints, and Honda once again has one of the strongest year-over-year growths. On the other hand, Ford could have been up double digits, but has been hampered with production issues from both the Escape and Fusion.”

Growth in the truck segment has been strong, in large part due to the rise in new home construction taking place across the country. In addition to gains attributed to the housing market, the auto industry is heading into the time of year where truck sales tend to ramp up. With seasonal demand predicted to increase during the next few months, Kelley Blue Book expects growth in the full-size pickup truck segment to continue unabated.

“The mid-size car segment, which had many redesigned models introduced last year, is expected to be down nearly 2 percent in market share and is being challenged by compact cars for the top segment, while both the large truck and compact crossover segments are seeing the most improvement, up nearly 1 percent,” said Tim Fleming, analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “The launch of the new Toyota Corolla next month could provide the necessary sales for compact cars to become the leading segment in the industry.”