According to Bloomberg, analysts forecast that sales rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.60 million, down a blip from 16.70 million in July.
Sales in 2017 have slowed after seven straight years of record-setting numbers. In July, all the Big Three carmakers reported sales declines that were worse than expected.
Many automakers have pared down their less profitable sales to rental fleets, and this has subtracted from overall sales this year. Evercore said in a note that August is typically a strong month for fleet sales, and so there could be an upturn in the numbers.
Also, the more profitable SUVs and trucks are outselling sedans, which have lower margins, suggesting that a shift in consumer preferences might be underway.
"The big question for August will be the impact from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey," said Evercore's Arndt Ellinghorst in a preview. "We believe the drag from Harvey is likely in excess of c100k units and could be as high as c200k units on this month's print. Investors should be prepared for volatility in reported sales and absolute numbers below expectations."