S&P Global Mobility: January U.S. Auto Sales Feel the ChillJanuary 29, 2024
With volume for the month projected at 1.09 million units, January 2024 U.S. auto sales are estimated to translate to a sales pace of 15.2 million units (seasonally adjusted annual rate). While this would be an improvement from the year-ago level, the result reflects a potential preview to the upcoming calendar year whereby month-to- month volatility is expected to remain in the market. So note the experts at S&P Global Mobility, whose U.S. auto outlook for 2024 projects sustained, but more moderate growth levels for light-vehicle sales.
“We expect production levels to continue to develop,” says principal analyst Chris Hopson, “especially early in the year as some automakers look to continue to restock in the wake of production shutdowns late in 2023 and decent December 2023 sales volume. The advancing production levels set the stage for incentives and inventory to continue to develop, potentially enticing new vehicle buyers who remained on the sidelines due to higher interest rates. S&P Global Mobility projects calendar-year 2024 volume of 15.94 million units, a 3% increase from the 2023 tally.”
Dealer-advertised vehicle inventories continue to climb, the firm adds. Available new-vehicle dealer-inventory listings for the U.S. market increased to 2.45 million units at the end of December, according to Matt Trommer, associate director of market reporting at S&P Global Mobility. This is a slight 0.6% increase from November and a 53% year-over-year increase.
Also noted: Continued development of battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales remains an assumption in the longer-term light-vehicle sales forecast. In the immediate term, some month-to-month volatility is anticipated. January BEV share is expected to reach 8.0%, similar to the month prior reading as automakers, dealers and consumers digest the changes to tax credits to begin the new year. BEV share is expected to advance over the next several periods, pending the rollouts of several BEVs including the Chevrolet Equinox EV, Honda Prologue and Fiat 500e, all scheduled for market introductions during the first half of 2024.
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