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Commentary & Voices

Cox Automotive Industry Commentary: Sales Day August 2018

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August 2018 U.S. auto sales were reported earlier today, with the overall market coming in near forecast driven by strong truck and SUV sales. Cars sales were down significantly.

Cox Automotive had forecast General Motors sales in August to be down 7.5 percent from year-ago levels. Considering overall market performance and the fact G.M. is in short supply of full-size pickups as it transitions to an all-new model, Cox Automotive is estimating that G.M. sales in August were at or below our initial forecast.

The audio for the most recent call which covers the August selling month is available.

Listen ›

Please find below commentary from the team at Cox Automotive. If you would like to speak with one of the expert analysts from Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book or any member of the Cox Automotive Industry Insights team, please let us know. We would be happy to help.

From Michelle Krebs, Executive Analyst for Autotrader:
“You know it is a dreadful month for sedans when bestsellers Toyota Camry and Honda Accord post double-digit declines. Conversely, it was a good month for utility vehicles, especially midsize models.”
On Ford: “It’s back to the future for Ford. Despite former CEO Alan Mulally’s efforts to better balance its product portfolio, Ford is back to being largely a truck company. Its August sales performance demonstrated its strength in trucks – 81,000 F-150s sold and cars down 21 percent. These results are no surprise, as Cox Automotive surveys show consumers view Ford as a truck company more than any other vehicle maker.”

From Zo Rahim, Research Manager for Cox Automotive:
“For the first time in U.S. automotive history, monthly car share is on pace to dip below 30 percent. This is a dramatic shift – car share was near 50 percent just 5 years ago. With the drop, it’s tough to forecast where share will finally level out, as consumers have decidedly killed the car. Our initial idea of the floor being somewhere in the low-30-percent neighborhood appears to be too high in a market that loves its trucks and SUVs.”

From Charlie Chesbrough, Senior Economist for Cox Automotive:
“There were few surprises in August sales, as we had forecast healthy sales. However, given all the positive economic news, including a high stock market and low unemployment rates, we might have expected even more, particularly compared to last August which was negatively impacted by Hurricane Harvey. This is why we believe all the positive economic news can’t overtake the worsening buying conditions for consumers: The economy may be peaking right now, but the vehicle market likely peaked two years ago.”

From Brad Korner, General Manager for Cox Automotive Rates and Incentives:
“We continue to see incentive discipline in the market as the automakers seem more concerned about profitability and less concerned about artificially driving volume higher. Many incentives now are focused on specific, higher-end packages, which is an effort to move consumers into higher trim models, not drive volume or clear out excess inventory.”

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