US October Light Vehicle Sales Drop -23% YoY

Ken Zino of on US October Light Vehicle Sales Drop -23% YoY

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The US daily volume average of light vehicle sales dropped to the lowest level so far in 2021 due to extremely lean inventories, according to LMC Automotive, an independent global forecasting and market intelligence consultancy. Sales totaled 1.05 mn light vehicles, down -23% YoY. Ford led the market, but Toyota outsold GM once again and is now the only OEM that has sold more than 2 million units in the year to date. Several brands, including Hyundai, Kia and Tesla, have already surpassed their 2020 total sales.

Overall vehicle sales were, however, 5% higher than September with the 2 extra selling days in October. The annualized rate grew to 13.1 million units from 12.1 million in the previous month and back to the level registered in August. “However, OEMs sold just 39,000 vehicles per selling day, compared to 40,000 units last month, way down from a peak of 62,000 vehicles in March,” said LMC.

“In October 2021 light-truck market share topped 80% for the first time, at 80.2% of all new light vehicles sold. Through the first 10 months of the year, light trucks have accounted for 77.2% of new-vehicle sales. After setting a record in September 2021, average new light-vehicle transaction prices are expected to set a new record of just under $44,000, says J.D. Power,” said Patrick Manzi, National Automobile Dealers Association Chief Economist.

“Prices have risen due to limited new-vehicle supplies and reduced automaker incentive spending. Accordingly, average incentive spending per unit is also expected to hit a new record low of $1,628. Consumers facing these rising prices have benefited from very strong trade-in values. J.D. Power estimates that the average trade-in value is up 70% year over year,”  Manzi said.

For the rest of 2021 NADA predicts that dealers will continue to sell most of their inventory soon after it reaches their lots as they work their way through their customer order books. “Inventory levels should begin to slowly and steadily increase throughout 2022 but will likely remain below pre-COVID levels. Our forecast for new light-vehicle sales in 2021 is 15.2 million units,” said Manzi.

Global Light Vehicle sales in 2021 are now projected by LMC to finish at 80.2 million units, revised down by 400,000 units from last month as disruptions continue hinder vehicle production to keep up with demand. LMC’s 2022 forecast has also been cut by 400,000 to 84.8 million units, “with a higher level of risk in the first half of the year.”

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