UPDATED, Aug. 5, 2020 – Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough on July U.S. auto sales: “Our read of the numbers suggests sales in July ran at an annual pace of 14.5 million, notably stronger than our initial forecast and an indication the recovery continues to head in the right direction. The market remains well below last year’s levels, but has steadily increased since the depths of April. We still believe weak economic numbers coupled with fear over the coronavirus is keeping some buyers on the sidelines. In fact, according to our recent research, the number of consumers in-market for new vehicle is well below normal.
Dealers are also struggling with product availability after factory and supply chain disruptions of the last few months. Concerns about inventory, and the lack of supply at dealerships around the country, was a big concern for July sales, as we stated in our forecast last week. Both Toyota and Subaru confirmed sales numbers down nearly 20% in July, and both had very low inventory levels during the month. It seems likely that this inventory problem is going to continue over the course of the summer and maybe through the rest of the year as sales slowly recover.”
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