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US auto sales continue recovery for sixth straight month in October: analysts

Increase font size  Decrease font size Date:2020-10-30   Views:29
The US vehicle market showed ongoing signs of recovery in October with sales continuing to follow positive trends over the six months since April's historic lows, industry analysts said Oct. 28.

Cox Automotive said new vehicle sales in the US are forecast to rise to 1.36 million units in October, up 1.7% year on year and 1.9% month on month.
"Given the severity of the health and economic crisis in the country right now, the strong vehicle sales pace is a pleasant surprise, particularly when six months ago most market observers didn't expect us to be here," Cox Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough said in a report.

On a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) basis, Cox said sales in the month are expected to finish near 16.4 million units, a figure that has risen each month since April.

Cox said the vehicle market should continue to stabilize in the coming months as the country's wider economic situation stays on its current course.

"Modest improvements in the US economy from gains in consumer confidence and job creation, coupled with the roll-out of new products, are keeping consumers interested in purchasing, even during turbulent time," Chesbrough said.

With factories now operating close to pre-pandemic levels, issues regarding supply and tight inventory should also be less of a challenge moving forward, Cox added.

Cox said a possible second wave of the coronavirus pandemic or the outcome of the upcoming US general election could still cause disruptions to economic and vehicle buying activity in the next few months.

JD Power offered a lower estimate for October total vehicle sales at 1.32 million units. The projection falls short of 1.33 million units in October 2019 and 1.34 million units in September, according to the consulting firm's data. Total sales include non-retail transactions.

However, retail-specific sales of vehicles rose to 1.19 million in October from 1.11 million in the same month last year, JD said in a report.

"Two consecutive months of year-over-year retail sales increases demonstrates that consumer demand is showing remarkable strength, and the strong sales pace is occurring despite tight inventories," Thomas King, president of JD Power's data and analytics division said.

JD Power said total new vehicle SAAR sales are estimated at 15.9 million units in October. Though this projection slipped about 800,000 units from October 2019, the consultant said this drop was the smallest year-on-year decline since the pandemic began distorting the market.
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