U.S. New-Vehicle Sales Expected to Rise 2.9% in First Half of 2024

Lower prices and more incentives are helping counteract high interest rates for new-car buyers.


When data is collected at the end of June, Cox Automotive is forecasting U.S. new-vehicle sales to see a mild 2.9% improvement in the first half of 2024 compared to the same period last year.

Despite persistent challenges from high prices and interest rates, the recent forecast reveals a cautiously optimistic outlook for the automotive market.

According to Cox Automotive, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for June 2024 is expected to be approximately 16.0 million, slightly down from 16.1 million in June 2023 but an increase from May's 15.9 million pace.

"Sales have been relatively strong over the last few months thanks in large part to lower prices," said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive. "Incentives are rising, which are helping vehicle buyers, but only somewhat. The expectation of falling prices coupled with rising uncertainty around interest rate policies may lead some vehicle buyers to wait."

For the first half of 2024, new-vehicle sales volume is forecasted to increase by nearly 225,000 units compared to the same period in 2023. This brings the sales pace to 15.6 million, up from 15.4 million last year. Despite these gains, Cox Automotive remains cautious about the second half of the year. The full-year forecast remains steady at 15.7 million units, representing a 1.3% increase from 2023.

"We remain concerned that the second half of the year cannot maintain the growth we've seen so far," said Chesbrough. "Adding to the uncertainty in the market, many consumers likely believe things will be better, or at least more certain, after the November election, which adds to the hesitancy in buying. We still expect 2024 to finish a little better than 2023 -- supported by more discounting and better prices, but we will be fighting an uncertain economic outlook."

GM Still Tops U.S. Sales

In terms of manufacturer performance, General Motors is expected to retain its position as the top automaker in the U.S. market despite a slight 0.1% decline in sales compared to the first half of 2023. Toyota, benefiting from a lean new-vehicle supply, is projected to achieve a significant 16.3% year-over-year gain, maintaining its position as the second-largest automaker. Ford and Hyundai are also on track to retain their respective third and fourth positions.

Honda Motor Company, including both Honda and Acura brands, is forecasted to surpass Stellantis to become the fifth largest automaker by sales in the first half of 2024. Honda is expected to post a 10.8% volume increase, whereas Stellantis is projected to see a 16.5% decrease in the same period.

Segment-wise, compact cars and compact SUVs/crossovers are anticipated to show positive year-over-year growth in June 2024, with compact cars increasing by 11.4% and compact SUVs/crossovers by 4.4%. However, other segments like mid-size cars and full-size pickup trucks are forecasted to decline.

AkzoNobel Beta web graphic v2 600px

Shop & Product Showcase