October’s seasonally adjusted new-vehicle sales should be in line with September’s, despite the Detroit union strikes and continued high sticker prices, S&P Global Mobility projects, though it says the strike’s effects will start to manifest for the big three brands in their monthly sales results.
U.S. light-vehicle deliveries are expected to total 1.2 million units for a SAAR of 15.7 million, the same as September’s SAAR, S&P said.
“On the surface with a projected SAAR result of 15.7 million units, October auto sales will be stronger than they appear,” said S&P Principal Analyst Chris Hopson in a press release on the projections.
“Underlying pressure by way of still-notable vehicle affordability concerns, potential economic slowdown and specific instances of severely limited inventory levels are likely to be a drag on auto sales for the remainder of the year."
S&P estimates that about 150,000 production units had been lost due to the strikes as of last week, resulting in retail inventory listings for effected models falling 12%. It said inventories will be pressured throughout the fall if the walkouts continue.
Still, industrywide, it said advertised inventory has greatly increased, from two million units on Sept. 11 to 2.5 million in the week ended Oct. 15, up 64% year-over-year.
"… while we see the 2023 model year inventories decreasing, the 2024 MY inventory is growing at a faster rate than the 2023 model year sell-down," said S&P Associate Director of Market Reporting Matt Trommer.