Automotive Industry Overview for September 2013
Automakers will announce September new-vehicle sales on Tuesday, October 1, with many analysts expecting lower numbers compared to September of 2012.
New-vehicles sales to retail customers are seen as a sign for the overall health of the economy and an indication of consumer sentiment as well.
Edmunds estimates 1.14 million new vehicles were sold in September, which is down 1.8 percent from September 2012 and 24.4 percent from August 2013. This reduction in sales is partly a result of the automotive sales calendar.
JD Power estimates 248,000 new vehicles were sold over Labor Day weekend, but these sales numbers are included within August's sales numbers. September also had fewer sales days than other years. The average September includes 25 sales days, but September 2013 only included 23 days.
Overall, most automakers are expected to post year-over-year sales losses for September. According to TrueCar, foreign automakers struggled during the month, with Hyundai is expecting to decline 15 percent along with Nissan (OTC: NSANY) losing nine percent. Honda (NYSE: HMC) is expected to report a small gain of two percent.
The outlook is not much better for Big Three automakers. General Motors (NYSE: GM) is expected to lose seven percent along with Chrysler (OTC: FIATY) dropping two percent. Ford (NYSE: F) is looking to produce strong results however, looking for a two percent gain thanks to the strong success of its F-150 trucks and Escape SUV.
LMC Automotive cautions against viewing the September numbers in isolation. When combined with August sales numbers, retail sales are up over 10 percent compared to August/September of 2012. Automakers are still on track to hit 2013 yearly sales targets and LMC believes automakers are in the best shape they have been in for years.
TrueCar sees supply and demand fundamentals holding steady with consumers remaining moderately confident in the economy overall and taking advantage of low interest rates on car loans. 2014 is not expected to match the incredibly strong growth of 2013, but automotive sales are predicted to continue their slow but steady growth, matching the general outlook for the US economy.
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