S&P Global Mobility: January 2023 U.S. Auto Sales Highlight Mixed Messaging

January 26, 2023

January 2023 U.S. auto sales are expected to advance mildly from the year-ago level, says S&P Global Mobility, which also projects a jump in the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  With volume for January projected at 1.015 million units, U.S. auto sales are estimated to translate to an estimated sales pace of 15.5 million units (SAAR), the highest monthly level since May 2021. 

“Auto consumers continue to be impacted by an uncertain purchase environment,” says Chris Hopson, principal analyst at S&P Global Mobility. “While positive developments regarding mildly retreating vehicle prices and rising pockets of inventory bode well, interest rates remain high and economic headwinds persist.

“None of these issues will be resolved quickly as we move through 2023,” Hopson adds. “The January 2023 expected SAAR reading may have jumped from the month-prior reading of 13.3 million units, but the unsteady combination of consumers, inventory and economic conditions will dictate monthly new vehicle sales levels.”

The S&P Global Mobility auto outlook for 2023 continues to carry a countercyclical narrative, as the firm’s experts expect production levels to continue to develop, even as economic conditions are expected to deteriorate through the early stages of next year.  The advancing production levels, along with reports of sustained retail order books, recovering stock of vehicles, and a fleet sector that remains starved for product, should provide some impetus to auto demand levels even as an economic recession looms.  

The firm projects 2023 calendar-year volume of 14.8 million units, a 7-percent increase from the estimated 2022 tally.

Technologies: Management


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