Report: U.S. Automotive Market in Rough Shape

The U.S. light-vehicle market doesn’t appear to be in the best health. While many automakers now opt against issuing monthly sales reports, those that still do are posting some pretty brutal numbers.

This does not bode well for an industry that seemed pretty certain that 2022 would be its recovery year. However, it is on-brand with the slew of announcements made by manufacturers warning about supply constraints and an inability to manufacture at scale. There has also been a growing sense that some consumers may be shunning vehicles that have spent the last several months trading well above what seems rational. Wholesale pricing actually declined by roughly 6 percent since the January record. Though you may not see that represented on dealer lots or even have noticed if it was because last month still saw transactions averaging 14 percent higher than they were last year.

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Used Vehicle Pricing Sets Another Record High

Used-vehicle prices set another record last month thanks to elevated demand and suppressed production of new cars. Depending on who you ask, the typical transaction fee for a secondhand automobile rose nearly 50 percent in November vs the same period in 2020. While the pandemic had meaningfully suppressed demand during that time, that’s still a staggering increase over any 12-month period.

Sharing Cox Automotive’s Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, Automotive News nailed down the annual difference to a 44-percent increase. This also represents the November pricing index swelling by 3.9 percent against October, which is noteworthy in itself. But what does that look like in dollars?

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Four Reasons Why September 2017's U.S. Auto Sales Picture Isn't As Rosy As It Seems

In September, for the first time in 2017, auto sales were higher this year than last.

Substantially higher.

Compared with September 2016, auto sales in America last month were 6 percent higher, far healthier than the modest sub-1-percent uptick analysts predicted. Booming pickup truck volume, big gains from America’s best-selling SUVs and cars, continued growth from trend-bucking Subaru, and rebounds at Volkswagen resulted in an industry that reported 1.5 million total sales, nearly 90,000 more than in September 2016.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate shot up to 18.6 million, the best SAAR since July 2005, according to Automotive News. Over the last half-decade, Americans have averaged fewer than 1.3 million September new vehicle acquisitions. Last month’s result was 18 percent better than the September average.

Sunshine and roses? An end to the U.S. auto industry’s gradual slide? A sign of a perfectly healthy market? We have four reasons you should be skeptical.

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Low Fuel Prices, Strong New-Car Sales Boost US Economy

What happens when $2.99 for a gallon of regular fuels demand for new vehicles? The U.S. economy feels its VTEC kick in, of course.

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Edmunds: 2014 SAAR May Best 2006 Peak

The surge in United States auto sales last month could push the final figures to a height not seen since 2006 when January 2015 rolls around.

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Schuster: North American SAAR To Remain Strong Through 2020

Six years removed from the Great Recession, LMC Automotive senior vice president and economist Jeff Schuster believes North American auto sales will remain strong through 2020 despite the remaining effects of the recession.

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June 2013 Sales: 16 Million SAAR Projected

A great month for Jaguar, which posted a 59 percent bump in sales, year-over-year. Strong sales of pickups helped the Big Three post some solid gains. Transaction prices were up $617 year-over-year, with an industry average of $31,125. Table below, courtesy of Automotive News.

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Analysis: The Clock Is Ticking For GM's Oshawa Plant

Upon receipt of a multi-billion dollar loan from the Canadian government, General Motors signed a “Vitality Commitment”, essentially a covenant in the loan agreement between GM and Canada’s government, which guaranteed that a certain amount of GM’s North American production would remain in Canada. That number is widely reported as being 16 percent, while page F-69 of GM’s IPO filings outlines that the covenant is valid until GM repays its loan commitments or until December 31, 2016, whichever comes later.

While Oshawa has widely regarded as one of GM’s best plants in terms of producing high-quality vehicles, the future of GM’s Oshawa plant is looking increasingly bleak.

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"Brave New World": AlixPartners Predicts Auto Market Headwinds, "Competitive Convergence," And Other Challenges

AlixPartners, the consulting firm that led GM’s reorganization efforts, has put the perennial optimism of auto industry analysts on notice, introducing its 2011 Automotive Outlook by arguing

The AlixPartners 2011 Automotive Outlook finds that while automakers and suppliers have seen profits bounce back handsomely – North American original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) posted $12.5 billion in 2010 profit on a net margin of 4.6% and North American suppliers reaped $8.2 billion on a net margin of 4.3% – no one should be tempted into thinking that things are now back to “normal,” or at least the normal defined by the consumer-incentive-induced sales levels of the past. In sync with its past annual auto studies, AlixPartners continues to predict that U.S. auto sales will climb slower, and to a lower peak, than many others are predicting. Specifically, the firm estimates U.S. auto sales will reach just 12.7 million units this year and only 13.6 million in 2012.

This is a tough moment for us: on the one hand, pessimistic economic forecasts don’t make anybody happy… on the other hand, the AlixPartner outlook is a significant validation of TTAC’s longtime bearishness. So rather than either moping or self-congratulating, let’s just take a look at why AlixPartners is so gloomy about the near-term outlook.

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J.D. Power Projects A Better 2011

Based on stronger than expected early indications, J.D. Power agrees with Edmunds and also predicts a strong January. Based on 11 days of sales, J.D. Power thinks 2011 will be a much better year. Power up-revised its forecast for total light-vehicle sales in 2011 to 13.0 million units (from 12.8 million units).

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You Are Looking At The U.S. Car Market

What is the difference between the November U.S. car market and my wife? The answer is: None. Edmunds says the U.S. annual sales rate for new vehicles in November will be essentially flat from the prior month.

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Postcards From "The New Normal"

Sales numbers for the US market in July should drop today, and based on an early analyst survey, the market’s only recovered to a 12m SAAR at best. Estimates aside though, it’s beginning to look more and more like the US market for new cars is approaching a “new normal.” How so? Automotive News [sub]’s Jesse Snyder figures it’s

Because discipline is breaking out all over– at manufacturers, suppliers and dealerships.

Even Snyder’s headline captures the mood of cautious realism that’s suddenly taken hold of the auto industry: though the market appears to have moved towards 12m annual units in July, Snyder’s analysis is headlined Life at 11 million U.S. sales.

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June Sales Gone Flat?
If you’re hoping the US market is in the midst of an upswing, it’s time to start adjusting expectations. Ford’s Mark Fields says the market…
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Quote Of The Day: The New Triumphalism Edition

We’re right on the verge of having 12 million in vehicle sales

UAW boss Ron Gettelfinger waxes optimistic in a recent speech at Wayne State University [via The Freep]. “Not so fast,” says Automotive News [sub]’s delightfully cranky senior editor, John K. Teahen Jr., in a piece appropriately titled 12 million sales this year? Don’t hold your breath.

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Toyota Global Sales Headed Up
Despite allegedly falling quality, magical accelerator pedals, Hyundai snapping at their heels, depressed stock price, management musical chairs and Volkswag…
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