Tuesday, 27 July 2021 13:11

Cox Automotive Forecast: Tight Supply Puts Brakes on New-Vehicle Sales


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July U.S. auto sales are expected to reveal a new-vehicle market that has a large problem---too few products to sell.

The sales pace, which had been on track to reach 17 million units for the year through May, is expected to show another decline as falling inventories are halting sales activity around the country.


Cox Automotive forecasts the July sales pace to fall to 15.2 million, down from June's 15.4 million level. This would be the third consecutive monthly pace decline after hitting a post-COVID-19 peak in April.


Sales volume is expected to rise nearly 7.8% over last July, but with 27 selling days this year, one more than last year, that is a minimal gain.


"Sales pace has really been falling throughout the month---and quickly," said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist, Cox Automotive. "The expected sales pace of 15.2 million in July will be the slowest pace since last August's 15.1 million, and if inventory levels do not improve, we could see the pace drop even more."


Inventory levels were tight to start the year after factory closures during the virus outbreak in 2020, but the global chip shortage has significantly impacted vehicle production this year causing available supply to be at a critically low level.


To start July, new-vehicle inventory was at a record low 25 days' supply. A certain amount of supply is necessary for buyers to find the exact vehicle---type, color, trim---they want. Through the spring, inventory levels were extremely low, yet sales were able to maintain a strong pace.


However, over the last two months, the sales pace has declined substantially, and a lack of products is to blame. It is expected sales will continue to be constrained by...

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