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US Economy: Auto Sales in a Downturn

Posted by: : Shayne HeffernanPosted on: September 27, 2013 US Economy: Auto Sales in a Downturn

Auto Sales is the latest data that indicates the US Economy is not doing as well as the Wall Street numbers suggest.

September Auto Sales Expected To Dip 2 Percent, According To Kelley Blue Book

New-vehicle sales are expected to decline 1.8 percent in September 2013 to a total of 1.17 million units, according to Kelley Blue Book, the leading provider of new and used car information.


“September 2013 new-vehicle sales represent the first year-over-year drop since May 2011, due to slower retail sales, two fewer sales days in the month, and this year’s Labor Day sales included in August 2013 totals,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “Despite the cool down this month, Kelley Blue Book forecasts sales will remain on track to exceed 15.6 million units in 2013 because of strong product introductions from automakers.”

Key Highlights for Estimated September 2013 Sales Forecast:

In September 2013, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to hit 1,167,000 units, down 1.8 percent from September 2012 and down 22.2 percent from August 2013.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for September 2013 is estimated to be 15.7 million, up from 14.7 million in September 2012 and down from 16.0 million in August 2013.

Retail sales are expected to account for 85 percent in September 2013.

Toyota, Honda to Lead Manufacturer Growth in September 2013

Honda will continue its momentum from a strong August 2013, when it posted a 27 percent gain year over year. While calendar quirks this month will limit Honda to single-digit growth, two of its three core products, the Civic and CR-V, are leading their respective segments this year. Toyota also is expected to post small gains in September as it launched the all-new Corolla, which will challenge the Civic for the best-selling small car this year. Domestic manufacturers are expected to post volume losses for the month; however, their combined market share of 44.4 percent will be slightly higher than last month and one year ago.


Sales Volume 1 Market Share 2
Manufacturer Sep-13 Sep-12 YOY % Sep-13 Sep-12 YOY %
General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC) 208,000 210,245 -1.1% 17.8% 17.7% 0.1%
Toyota Motor Company (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) 177,000 171,910 3.0% 15.2% 14.5% 0.7%
Ford Motor Company (Ford, Lincoln) 173,000 174,454 -0.8% 14.8% 14.7% 0.2%
Chrysler Group (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM) 137,000 142,041 -3.5% 11.7% 11.9% -0.2%
American Honda (Acura, Honda) 122,000 117,211 4.1% 10.5% 9.9% 0.6%
Hyundai-Kia 96,000 108,130 -11.2% 8.2% 9.1% -0.9%
Nissan North America (Infiniti, Nissan) 93,000 91,907 1.2% 8.0% 7.7% 0.2%
Volkswagen Group (Audi, Volkswagen) 45,000 48,641 -7.5% 3.9% 4.1% -0.2%
Total 3 1,167,000 1,188,899 -1.8%
1 Historical data from OEM sales announcements
2 Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights
3 Includes brands not shown

Compact Crossovers Post Biggest Growth, Compacts to Lead the Way over Mid-Size Cars

Compact crossovers will see the biggest growth of any segment, as sales are up 21.7 percent so far this year, fueled by redesigns of the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester. While housing prices are starting to level out, housing construction and sales remain up, helping pickup truck sales accelerate into the fall season when sales are typically strong.

“In September 2013, Kelley Blue Book expects compact cars to surpass mid-size cars as the leading segment for the first time since June 2011,” said Tim Fleming, analyst at Kelley Blue Book.  “Over the past three months, compact car sales have soared 17.8 percent on the strength of the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra, and the introduction of the new Toyota Corolla will bolster sales even more in this segment.”

Sales Volume 1 Market Share
Segment Sep-13 Sep-12 YOY % Sep-13 Sep-12 YOY %
Compact Car 179,750 186,870 -3.8% 15.4% 15.7% -0.3%
Mid-Size Car 178,500 194,568 -8.3% 15.3% 16.4% -1.1%
Compact Crossover 151,750 135,234 12.2% 13.0% 11.4% 1.6%
Full-Size Pickup Truck 150,500 144,459 4.2% 12.9% 12.2% 0.7%
Subcompact Car 49,000 49,111 -0.2% 4.2% 4.1% 0.1%
Total 2 1,167,000 1,188,899 -1.8%
1 Historical data from OEM sales announcements
2 Includes brands not shown
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Shayne Heffernan Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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