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Tuesday, 24 November 2020 19:24

Cox Automotive November Forecast: Seasonality Weakens U.S. Auto Sales After Months of Recovery

Index

U.S. auto sales for November are expected to show a market that is now weakening after months of recovery from April's historic low seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).

The sales pace for light vehicles is expected to fall to 15.8 million this month, down from last year's 17 million pace, but more importantly down from last month's 16.2 million level.

 

A decline in November would be the second monthly decline in a row after the market's post-COVID–19 peak of 16.3 million in September and suggests the market is weakening heading into the holiday season.

 

November's SAAR calculation has large seasonal adjustments this year. There are only 23 selling days compared to last November's 26, and there are five fewer days than last month.

 

As a result, vehicle sales volume is expected to be down significantly; with the adjustment, a sales volume decline of 8% to 9% is a "flat" market. This month, sales volume is expected to decrease nearly 15%, but after adjustments, this would represent a 7% decline from last year's selling pace.

 

This is still a relatively strong level given the headwinds facing the market, including a surge in the pandemic and ongoing high levels of unemployment claims.

 

One market headwind is improving, however, albeit just slightly. According to Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough, product availability has improved: "The tight inventory situation, where available products at dealerships...


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