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Economy & Trends

Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index – Third Quarter 2018

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Article Highlights

  1. According to data from the Q3 2018 Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index (CADSI) released today, U.S. automobile dealers are more positive than negative in describing the current market in the third quarter but are fearful that proposed auto tariffs could hurt profitability.
  2. Only 11 percent of dealers believe auto tariffs on imported vehicles and parts would have a positive impact on their business, while 38 percent anticipate a negative impact. Fifty-one percent of dealers believe tariffs would have no impact. Franchised auto dealers – new-car dealers – are more pessimistic, with 56 percent suggesting new auto tariffs would impact their business negatively. Of the franchised dealers who feel negatively toward tariffs, 66 percent believe consumers will face higher prices on all new vehicles, not solely imports, as the market adjusts.
  3. “Dealers continue to report strong market conditions in the third quarter, with few material changes in key performance indicators from the spring, when we reported record-high sentiment,” said Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “While they are positive on today’s business, the new looming threat is the negative impact of proposed tariffs on imported autos and parts. And, for the first time, dealers indicate that limited inventory is the No. 1 obstacle holding back business.”

Derived from a quarterly survey that Cox Automotive issues to a representative sample of franchise and independent auto dealers, the Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index measures dealer perceptions of current retail auto sales and sales expectations for the next three months as “strong,” “average” or “weak.” The survey also asks dealers to rate new-car sales and used-car sales separately along with a variety of key drivers including consumer traffic. Responses are used to calculate an index where any number over 50 indicates that more dealers view conditions as strong rather than weak.

To see the highlights from the Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index for third quarter 2018, download the full report below.

To read the press release, click here.

If you are interested in speaking with Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke or need additional study details, contact Mark Schirmer, senior manager, public relations, Cox Automotive, at mark.schirmer@coxautoinc.com or 734 883 6346.

Q3 2018 Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index

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