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October Auto Sales Expected to Slow from Strong September Pace

-- New-vehicle sales expected to reach 1.33 million units, down 6.6 percent from September 2018.

-- The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in October is forecast at 17.1 million units, down from September's 17.4 million rate and last year's robust pace of 17.9.

-- Double-digit declines in car segments continue to weigh down market.

Oct 26, 2018

ATLANTA, Oct. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a forecast released today by Cox Automotive, the new-car sales pace in October is expected to fall to 17.1 million units, a decrease from September's robust 17.4 million level. Sales in October are forecast to remain consistent with the market's 2018 overall average. Although there is one more selling day in October versus last year, total sales volume is expected to decline nearly 25,000 units (1.9 percent) from 2017 and nearly 90,000 units (6.6 percent) compared to September 2018.

Cox Automotive (PRNewsfoto/Cox Automotive)

"The October sales pace should decline from September, and decline from last October's strong 17.9 million level," said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive. "Double-digit declines in car segments will continue to weigh down the market, while modest gains with many trucks and crossovers will not be enough to lift the pace to higher levels."

For the automotive market, October is an important sales month. OEMs traditionally roll out new products at this time of year and heavily discount older models to make space on dealership lots. Over the previous three years, the October seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) has finished in the 17.6-17.9 million range. This strong pace has been driven both by consumers seeking end-of-model-year deals and those interested in new models. However, this year's pace is expected to moderate some, in part from less aggressive incentives from OEMs.

The record for the month of October occurred in 2001. In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, GM's "Keep America Rolling" programs helped push sales to 1.72 million vehicles, the second highest all-time monthly volume and a record SAAR of 21.7 million. There is no possibility of that record being broken this year.

Key Highlights for October 2018 Sales Forecast:

  • New light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to reach 1.33 million units, down nearly 90,000 units, or 6.6 percent, compared to September 2018, and down nearly 25,000 units, or 1.9 percent, from October 2017.
  • There is one more selling day this October (26) versus October 2017 (25). When combined with lower volumes, the sales pace also declines. The SAAR in October 2018 is forecast at 17.1 million, down from last month's 17.4 million level and from last year's 17.9 million pace. The pace this month is in line with the 2018 year-to-date average of 17.1 million.
  • Although the market, and buying conditions in general, are strong, risks are also rising. Interest rate hikes—with more on the way—are already driving increases in monthly payments. Additionally, off-lease vehicles are creating a major headwind: Millions of gently-used, high-content vehicles have been returning to dealer lots this year. Off-lease vehicle volume is expected to peak in 2019. Many potential new-vehicle buyers will be drawn to this value alternative.

Lower Sales Forecast Across the Industry
Most manufacturers should see declines compared to 2017. One exception, Jeep, is expected to continue performing well as demand for rugged crossovers aligns with their portfolio. Ford and GM are likely to see some larger declines as aging product in some segments, poor car sales, and tighter incentives continue to hold them back.


Sales Forecast1

Market Share


Oct-18

Oct-17

Sep-18

YOY%

MOM%

Oct-18

Sep-18

MOM

Oct-17

GM

229,000

252,813

236,000*

-9.4%

-3.0%

17.4%

16.6%

0.7%

18.7%

Ford Motor Co

180,000

199,698

196,496

-9.9%

-8.4%

13.6%

13.9%

-0.3%

14.8%

Toyota Motor Co

174,000

188,434

203,098

-7.7%

-14.3%

13.1%

14.3%

-1.2%

14.0%

FCA Group

176,000

153,373

199,819

14.8%

-11.9%

13.3%

14.1%

-0.8%

11.4%

American Honda

125,000

127,353

132,668

-1.8%

-5.8%

9.4%

9.4%

0.1%

9.4%

Nissan NA

115,000

123,012

122,819

-6.5%

-6.4%

8.7%

8.7%

0.0%

9.1%

Hyundai Kia

99,000

97,407

108,862

1.6%

-9.1%

7.5%

7.7%

-0.1%

7.2%

VW

52,000

51,872

55,007

0.2%

-5.5%

3.9%

3.9%

0.0%

3.8%

Subaru

55,000

54,045

57,044

1.8%

-3.6%

4.0%

4.0%

0.0%

4.0%

Grand Total2

1,325,000

1,349,993

1,418,580

-1.9%

-6.6%





1 October 2018 Cox Automotive Industry Insights Forecast; all historical data from OEM sales announcements

2 Total includes brands not shown

* GM monthly sales from September are estimated

Most vehicle segments should also see declining sales versus last year. The decline in car volume the market has witnessed throughout the year may slow in October, as higher prices in the used market, coupled with newer high-volume products from Honda and Toyota, could support new car sales.


Sales Forecast1

Market Share

Segment

Oct-18

Oct-17

Sep-18

YOY

MOM

Oct-18

Sep-18

MOM

Oct-17

Mid-Size Car

110,000

129,344

119,663

-15.0%

-8.1%

8.3%

8.4%

-0.1%

9.6%

Compact Car

125,000

153,190

143,524

-18.4%

-12.9%

9.4%

10.1%

-0.7%

11.3%

Compact SUV/Crossover

250,000

228,535

260,582

9.4%

-4.1%

18.9%

18.4%

0.5%

16.9%

Full-Size Pickup Truck

210,000

206,363

206,466

1.8%

1.7%

15.8%

14.6%

1.3%

15.3%

Mid-Size SUV/Crossover

200,000

187,976

210,646

6.4%

-5.1%

15.1%

14.9%

0.2%

13.9%

Grand Total2

1,325,000

1,349,993

1,418,580

-1.9%

-6.6%





1 Cox Automotive Industry Insights data

2 Total includes segments not shown

All percentages are based on raw volume, not daily selling rate.

Cox Automotive Monthly Sales One-on-One Interviews
Cox Automotive industry experts will be available for one-on-one interviews with media on sales reporting day, Thursday, November 1, from 9-11 a.m. EDT. If you would like to discuss sales results next week or today's forecast, contact a member of the Public Relations team (information below) to schedule an interview.

About Cox Automotive
Cox Automotive Inc. makes buying, selling and owning cars easier for everyone. The global company's 34,000-plus team members and family of brands, including Autotrader®, Clutch Technologies, Dealer.com®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, VinSolutions®, vAuto® and Xtime®, are passionate about helping millions of car shoppers, 40,000 auto dealer clients across five continents and many others throughout the automotive industry thrive for generations to come. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., a privately-owned, Atlanta-based company with revenues exceeding $20 billion. www.coxautoinc.com

SOURCE Cox Automotive

For further information: Mark Schirmer, 734 883 6346, mark.schirmer@coxautoinc.com; or Dara Hailes, 470 658 0656, dara.hailes@coxautoinc.com


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