COX AUTOMOTIVE – As noted earlier this month, the low-inventory warning light is flashing bright red, but American car buyers aren't concerned. They're still rolling, with the buy peddle mashed to the floor. "The robust retail sales pace is the story for the industry right now," notes our Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough, commenting on the Cox Automotive April sales forecast released this morning.
The robust retail sales pace is the story for the industry right now.
The Cox Automotive Industry Insights team is forecasting a sales pace of 16.5 million in April, down from the surprise 17.7 million in March, but a healthy number nonetheless. A mid-16 million pace is the sign of a normalized industry. Compared to the wreck that was April 2020, sales volume this month is expected to jump by nearly 90%. Read the details: Cox Automotive April Forecast: Hot New-Vehicle Sales Pace Expected to Continue
Two other items worth noting.
First: Low inventory and strong demand are a recipe for profit in the auto business, to a point. Many major automakers are reporting Q1 results in the coming days, and we're taking a look at the key sales metrics for the big ones. Ford Motor Company is up first, with numbers scheduled to post after the market closes today. The company lost share in the important U.S. market in Q1, but as our Executive Analyst Michelle Krebs notes, "When Ford decided to exit the sedan market a few years ago, it expected lower sales volume and market share, but higher profits per vehicle sold. By that measure, Ford in Q1 was very much on track."
Secondly: This morning, our colleagues at Kelley Blue Book confirmed the winners of the 10th Annual 5-Year Cost to Own Awards. These awards recognize new vehicles with the lowest projected ownership costs over the initial five-year period, taking into account all the fun expenses that come with the privilege of ownership: depreciation, expected fuel costs, finance and insurance fees, maintenance costs and more. Toyota is a big winner, and awards are distributed at the brand and segment level. Affordability is always an important story, and this holistic look at ownership costs is a valuable measure.