Monday, 14 June 2021 18:20

U.S. Automobile Dealers Experience Unique Mix of Record Highs and Record Lows in the Second Quarter


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Dealer sentiment in the second quarter of 2021 saw substantial growth year over year and compared to Q2 2019, with the overall current market index increasing to 67, well above the positive threshold of 50 in the Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index (CADSI).

More dealers in the U.S. now feel the current automotive retail market is strong compared to those who feel it is weak, another indication of the overall market recovery from the depths of Q2 2020.


Dealers are also optimistic about the market ahead. The three-month market outlook index reading of 63 is an increase from last quarter and, importantly, equal to Q1 2020, the final pre-COVID-19 reading.


Profits in Q2 are strong, dealers are reporting. The profit index in Q2 hit a record 59, while the price pressure index dropped to a record low 33, meaning a majority of dealers are feeling little pressure to lower prices.


"Driven by the unique circumstances of strong demand and low inventory, dealer sentiment climbed to a record high in the spring," said Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. "The first two quarters of 2021 are showing a strongly recovering market, balancing on a perfect mix of pent-up demand, rising prices and low inventory."


New and Used Vehicle Inventory Indexes Hit Record Lows


Consistent with current market trends, the new-vehicle inventory index decreased significantly to 13 in Q2, a substantial 31-point drop from last quarter and a record low.


The index score of 13 is lowest index score in the four-year history of the CADSI and an indication that auto dealers collectively agree that new-vehicle inventories are declining.


The used-vehicle inventory index saw similar movement from Q1 to Q2, falling to 21, a record low for the measure, although...

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