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Cox Automotive Forecast: New-Vehicle Sales Stall In September

Cox Automotive Forecast: New-Vehicle Sales Stall in September

Automobile sales in September are forecast to slow for the fifth straight month, as tight inventory, high prices take a toll on the industry.


September U.S. auto sales are forecast to be significantly hampered by an ongoing lack of new-vehicle inventory. According to a forecast released by Cox Automotive, the pace of auto sales, or seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), is expected to finish near 12.1 million, the slowest pace since May 2020, when much of the country was closed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The September 2021 sales pace will be down from August’s 13.1 million pace and down from the September 2020 pace of 16.3 million.

Cox Automotive Inc. makes buying, selling, owning and using vehicles easier for everyone. The global company’s more than 27,000 team members and 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 nearly $20 billion.

Sales volume is forecast by Cox Automotive to come in near a notably low 1.0 million units. The low volume expectations for September 2021 put the month on course to be among the worst in the past decade. Sales volume is expected to be down nearly 26% from last September and down 8.5% from last month. The sales pace in the U.S. market has fallen every month since reaching a peak of 18.3 million in April.

According to Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough: “After a strong spring selling season, the supply situation has worsened precipitously and is dragging sales down with it. The monthly declines have been large – the sales pace has declined by more than a million units in each of the past five months. Available supply on dealer lots is now 58% lower than last September, down nearly 1.4 million units.”

The new-vehicle supply shortage is impacting the market in many ways. Manufacturers have cut back significantly on incentives, and transaction prices have risen as a result. In addition, the lack of new-vehicle inventory is steering many dealers and consumers into the used-vehicle market, resulting in higher prices for both wholesale and retail used vehicles.

Q3 2021: The Auto Industry Finds the Bottom

Cox Automotive will officially revise its full-year forecast, with new projections scheduled to be released on September 30.

The underlying economic conditions in the U.S. are currently healthy enough to support higher new-vehicle sales levels. The demand is there. Inventory levels, however, are the unique problem facing the automotive market right now, with disruptions to the global supply chain challenging all automakers, severely impacting available inventory, and pushing many would-be buyers out of the market. In recent research by Cox Automotive’s Kelley Blue Book team, nearly half of would-be buyers indicated in August that they will likely step back from the market, many for three months or more.

Inventory conditions, however, are anticipated to improve in the coming months. “The expectation is that OEM supply issues will improve such that Q4 should have better selling SAARs than the September rate, but that doesn’t mean good selling rates,” said Chesbrough. “Vehicles are getting produced, and some OEMs have improved their supply situation. In recent months, OEMs seem to be managing the situation better now that they’ve had time to adjust. For example, automakers are improving their ability to redirect existing chips to the most important vehicles in their portfolios. This strategy should support better sales in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter.”

September 2021 Sales Forecast Highlights

  • New light-vehicle sales are forecast to fall to 1.0 million units, or down 357,000 units, nearly 26% from last year. Compared to last month, sales are expected to fall 92,000 or nearly 8%.
  • The SAAR in September 2021 is estimated to be 12.1 million, down from last September’s early COVID recovery pace of 16.3 million and down from August’s 13.1 million supply-constrained level.
  • No segment saw a sales increase in September with the Mid-Size Cars and Compact SUV/Crossover segments seeing the largest year-over-year decreases at -41.0% and -33.7%, respectively.

Cox Automotive Q3 U.S. Auto Sales Forecast Call

Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke and the Industry Insights team will share their take on the overall industry performance on Thursday, September 30, at 10 a.m. EDT. In addition to the economic factors influencing the market, the Industry Insights team will cover the industry’s hottest topics, including inventory, vehicle prices, and valuations. The revised Cox Automotive full-year forecast will be explained, including insights into the outlook for the remainder of the year. 

Register to attend.

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

SOURCE Cox Automotive Press Release. 

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ASEAN Vehicle Sales Down 19% In Q1 2020

ASEAN Vehicle Sales Down 19% In Q1 2020

Sales of new vehicles in Southeast Asia’s six largest markets combined are estimated to have declined by over 19% to 700,528 units in the first quarter of 2020, according to market analyst firm GlobalData.

“The ASEAN vehicle market largely shrugged off the threat of COVID-19 in the first two months of the year. However, the crisis severely dented vehicle demand in the region from March,” says David Leggett, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData.

“Several markets of the region turned down sharply in the first quarter as lockdowns shuttered dealerships and manufacturing plants across southeast Asia. Thailand saw first quarter sales down 24% as its economy reeled under the impact of much-reduced travel and tourism. Malaysia Q1 vehicle sales were down by 26% and Vietnam saw a slump of almost 32%.”

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The worst of the crisis is expected to be in the second quarter of 2020, before economic lockdowns begin to be eased this month and in June.

Leggett continues, “Although 2020 is seeing a setback for the automotive sector in ASEAN markets, long-term prospects for the region remain very strong. GlobalData’s analysis points to strong indicators for long-term demand as motorisation rates rise with high economic growth—especially in Indonesia with its increasingly transportation hungry population of 273 million. Its market of around 1 million new vehicles a year is forecast to double to 2 million vehicles a year by the end of this decade.

“In addition to strong long-term market prospects, the automotive manufacturing industry in the region benefits from relatively low costs, favourable government policies for investment, as well as free trading regimes for vehicles and components.”

 

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