Edmunds Expects October Surprise

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Backed-up by real-time sales data from thousands of U.S. car dealers, the folks at Edmunds are predicting for October “the highest monthly Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of sales” of 13.4 million vehicles. Says Edmunds:

“That would be the highest level since August 2009, when sales were inflated by the U.S. government’s Cash for Clunkers program. Edmunds.com estimates 1,033,257 cars and light trucks will be sold October, that would be up 13 percent from October 2010 but down nearly 2 percent from September. Edmunds.com estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 10.7 million vehicles, with fleet sales accounting for 20 percent of all sales this month.”

But will it last? Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl thinks that the oft-cited “pent-up demand has been building for three years and will play out on a slow building of sales.” He also figures that this bubble of buyers, which he estimates as 200,000 to 300,000 sales, will taper off towards the end of the year. “We are about half way through this playing out,” he said.

Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell warns that “it would be a mistake to believe that this momentum is the ‘new normal.’ Unless early holiday incentives inspire droves of buyers in November, we don’t expect the SAAR to remain quite that high next month.”

Looking forward, Edmunds has 2012 car sales at around 13.5 million vehicles, up from 12.6 million units expected to be sold in 2011.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

More by Bertel Schmitt

Join the conversation
  • Alluster Alluster on Oct 28, 2011

    Nice comeback from Honda and Toyota. IIRC, GM hasn't fallen below 200K units/month in a long time. Chrysler is on a tear. Truecar is predicting a 37% increase. October will be the first full month of the new Camry. It will be interesting to see how it fares. Toyota's pricing strategy to compete with the sonata might pay off. Incentives on Honda and Toyota are at the highest level ever.

  • Vbofw Vbofw on Oct 29, 2011

    Wow! Bertel even toned down the usual snark, er, skepticism of the phrase "pent-up demand". Subtle change! Edmunds economists: Bubble seemingly isn't the right word. How can we be in a bubble at 13.4 million, when for 2012, you predict 13.5 million? Bubbles typically mean a long, painful reversion back to the norm, because behaviors were so irrational for so long. My theoretical money would be on the over for U.S. 2012 13.5 million. This economy isn't growing like gangbusters, but it is growing. And new cars are getting too damn cool, too damn safe, and too damn efficient, to ignore.