August U.S. auto sales seen down 5.2 percent; 2015 was peak: forecasters

August 25, 2016 4:02 PM EDT

Automobiles are shown for sale at a car dealership in Carlsbad, California, U.S. May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

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DETROIT (Reuters) - August U.S. auto sales will be 5.2 percent below a year ago, adding to evidence that the peak of industry sales was in 2015, consultancies J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said on Thursday.

"With mixed economic signals, it certainly looks like U.S. auto sales may have peaked in 2015," said Jeff Schuster, head of forecasting at LMC. "However, it is important to focus on the sustainable high level of demand. Peak does not mean doom and gloom, and while the industry faces risk, it is not destined for a pullback.”

The consultancies said they expect August U.S. total auto sales of 1,492,700 vehicles, from 1,574,938 a year earlier. Automakers will report sales next Thursday.

Shares in the biggest U.S. auto companies General Motors Co (NYSE: GM), Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE: FCAU) have been pressured because big investors expect sales to slide from their peak.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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