May New-Vehicle Sales Growth Remains Modest

In May 2024, Cox Automotive forecasts an optimistic outlook for new-vehicle sales, with the seasonally adjusted annual rate expected to finish at 15.8 million. This represents an improvement from last year’s level of 15.5 million, with sales volume expected to increase by 3.5% compared to one year ago. The increase in selling days for May, with 26 days in total, is also expected to contribute to higher sales volume this month.

Increased inventory levels have led to more appealing incentives for new-vehicle buyers, but affordability remains a concern due to high interest rates and elevated vehicle prices. The typical monthly payment for new-vehicle loans is above $750, which may be a deterrent for some buyers. Despite the challenges, Cox Automotive anticipates strong sales momentum during Memorial Day weekend, with manufacturers offering low-price promotions to attract shoppers.

Looking at specific market segments, mid-size cars are expected to see a decrease in sales compared to last year, while compact cars and SUVs/crossovers are forecasted to experience growth. Full-size pickup trucks and mid-size SUVs/crossovers may see a slight decline in sales volume as well. However, overall, the total new-vehicle sales forecast for May is set to reach 1.42 million units, a 3.5% increase year-over-year.

With the highest new-vehicle inventory levels since late 2020, dealers have a wide selection of vehicles to offer customers. Prices have remained relatively stable compared to the previous year, while incentives have nearly doubled. Cox Automotive Senior Economist, Charlie Chesbrough, predicts that shoppers can expect to see many aggressive offers this year, particularly with high inventory levels across various brands.

Cox Automotive is a leading automotive services and technology provider with a global presence. With a focus on tailored solutions for car shoppers, manufacturers, dealers, lenders, and fleets, Cox Automotive leverages first-party data to create industry-leading products and services. With a portfolio of well-known brands such as Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, and Dealertrack, Cox Automotive is committed to driving innovation in the automotive industry. For more information, visit coxautoinc.com or connect with Cox Automotive on social media platforms.

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