December 1, 2020

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U.S. Auto Sales Continue V-Shaped Recovery in Third Quarter

ATLANTA, Sept. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Auto sales in the U.S. are forecast to continue their COVID-19 recovery in September as the new-vehicle sales pace should increase over last month. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is likely to reach 15.5 million, a modest improvement over August’s 15.2 million, and the fifth consecutive month of sales pace improvement after April’s historic low, according to a forecast released today by Cox Automotive.

Sales volume is expected to be down just 0.3% compared to year-ago levels; however, September 2020 had two additional selling days and a Labor Day weekend compared to September 2019, so a relatively strong year-over-year volume comparison was expected.  

New-vehicle sales are performing well considering the historically low inventory levels. According to Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive: “Available Inventory is far below last year’s levels, yet sales continue to show surprising strength. Going into the fourth quarter, the key question is: Can this continue? Clearly new vehicle buyers haven’t been hit as hard as other consumers during this recession, so demand is likely to remain stable over the near-term.”

Closing out the third quarter, year-to-date U.S. auto sales volume is forecast to be down 19.6%. Retail sales are holding up relatively well compared to lease;fleet activity – rental, commercial and government – remains depressed.

One potential issue for the fourth quarter is lack of new product due to the model year roll-over delay. There are only a handful of model year 2021 vehicles in the marketplace right now, and vehicle buyers may be surprised when they go shopping this fall for the latest and greatest products. Currently, only 3% of available inventory is model year 2021. At this point last year, 25% of dealer supply was model year 2020. Factory shutdowns have delayed many products and limited availability of others. This headwind is likely to increase through at least the remainder of the year.

September 2020 Sales Forecast Highlights

  • New light-vehicle sales are forecast to fall to 1.275 million units, down 0.3% compared to September 2019. When compared to last month, sales are expected to decrease by 50,000 units, or nearly 3.7%.
  • The SAAR in September 2020 is estimated to be 15.5 million, far below last year’s 17.1 million level, but an improvement from last month’s 15.2 million sales pace.
  • All segments are expected to have lower month-over-month sales in September, while SUVs and pickup trucks are expected to see year-over-year increases.

September 2020 Sales Forecast by Major Segment


Sales Forecast1

Market Share

Segment

Sep-20

Sep-19

Aug-20

YOY%

MOM%

Sep-20

Aug-20

MOM

Mid-Size Car

90,000

101,211

93,626

-11.1%

-3.9%

7.1%

7.1%

0.0%

Compact Car

90,000

102,036

95,861

-11.8%

-6.1%

7.1%

7.2%

-0.2%

Compact SUV/Crossover

215,000

210,050

224,588

2.4%

-4.3%

16.9%

17.0%

-0.1%

Full-Size Pickup Truck

210,000

196,563

215,452

6.8%

-2.5%

16.5%

16.3%

0.2%

Mid-Size SUV/Crossover

210,000

194,015

224,993

8.2%

-6.7%

16.5%

17.0%

-0.5%

Grand Total2

1,275,000

1,279,193

1,323,514

-0.3%

-3.7%




Q3 2020 Sales and Year-to-Date Forecast


Sales Forecast1

OEM

Q3 2020

Q3 2019

YOY%


YTD 2020

YTD 2019

YOY%

BMW

71,723

86,157

-16.8%


189,444

260,180

-27.2%

Daimler

75,816

89,766

-15.5%


201,350

253,683

-20.6%

Fiat Chrysler

498,249

565,034

-11.8%


1,312,103

1,661,074

-21.0%

Ford

529,759

576,006

-8.0%


1,476,690

1,807,460

-18.3%

GM

636,264

735,651

-13.5%


1,741,960

2,144,972

-18.8%

Honda

391,375

429,214

-8.8%


983,662

1,206,209

-18.5%

Hyundai Kia

343,149

336,684

1.9%


886,623

984,795

-10.0%

J-LR

20,869

26,666

-21.7%


69,213

89,071

-22.3%

Mazda

70,174

69,612

0.8%


199,043

208,167

-4.4%

Mitsubishi

18,759

24,474

-23.4%


66,519

95,574

-30.4%

Nissan

228,685

327,354

-30.1%


663,619

1,044,390

-36.5%

Subaru

164,343

185,804

-11.6%


431,452

525,330

-17.9%

Tesla

54,800

54,700

0.2%


136,500

138,575

-1.5%

Toyota

546,325

627,194

-12.9%


1,440,101

1,779,302

-19.1%

Volvo

30,075

27,169

10.7%


72,811

77,289

-5.8%

VW

145,522

165,383

-12.0%


389,629

481,688

-19.1%

Grand Total2

3,825,887

4,326,868

-11.6%


10,260,719

12,757,759

-19.6%

1 Cox Automotive Industry Insights data

2 Total includes segments not shown

All percentages are based on raw volume, not daily selling rate.

About Cox Automotive
Cox Automotive Inc. makes buying, selling, owning and using cars easier for everyone. The global company’s 34,000-plus team members and family of brands, including Autotrader®, Clutch Technologies, Dealer.com®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, VinSolutions®, vAuto® and Xtime®, are passionate about helping millions of car shoppers, 40,000 auto dealer clients across five continents and many others throughout the automotive industry thrive for generations to come. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., a privately-owned, Atlanta-based company with annual revenues of $21 billion. www.coxautoinc.com

SOURCE Cox Automotive

Related Links

www.coxautoinc.com