Forecaster lowers US 2022 sales tally

June US new vehicle sales were expected to show a market still constrained by a lack of supply, and one that is virtually unchanged since January.

According to the latest Cox Automotive June sales forecast, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of new vehicle sales this month was expected to hit 13.8 million, up from last month’s 12.7 million pace but well below last year’s 15.5 million level.

The sales volume in June was expected to finish near 1.2 million units, down 7.5% from last year’s volume of 1.3 million sales. However, this is an increase of 7.5% from May’s volume of nearly 1.1 million units. There is one more selling day this June than last year and the same number as last month.

Lowered forecast

Tight inventory continued to negatively impact new vehicle sales. Since June 2021, monthly sales volume has been stuck in a tight window, with little deviation, averaging 1.1 million units a month and peaking only at 1.3 million in June 2021. With no clear timeline for any notable recovery in new vehicle inventory levels, Cox Automotive is lowering its full year 2022 US auto sales forecast to 14.4 million units, down from its current forecast of 15.3 million. The current forecast now is for new vehicle sales volume to fall below the 14.6 million sold in 2020, when the market was initially ravaged by the global COVID pandemic.

“Last June, I wrote that the concern about the supply situation could not be overstated, as we were in untested territory for the market,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist, Cox Automotive. “That sentiment remains, as there has been no significant shift in the conditions on the ground since last fall. Even though economic conditions have worsened in the past months, the lack of supply is still the greatest headwind facing the auto industry today.”

June and H1 2022 forecast highlights

In June, light vehicle sales were forecast to reach 1.2 million units, down 7.5% from June 2021. Sales volume in June was expected to rise nearly 181,000 compared to May, or 7.5%.

The SAAR in June 2022 was expected to be 13.8 million, below last year’s 15.5 million level, and up from May’s 12.7 million pace.

Second quarter 2022 sales were forecast to fall 19.3% compared to Q2 2021.

First-half sales were forecast to be down 17.3% from the same period in 2021.

General Motors was forecast to outsell Toyota in Q2, jumping back into the top-seller position.

Tesla was the only major brand to increase sales year over year in the first half. Honda, Nissan and VW all saw first-half sales drops in excess of 30% year over year.

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