Cox: Supply Hampers Sales

By Staff Writer May 05, 2022

When automakers report sales next week, there will be little talk of spring growth. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of sales is forecast by Cox Automotive to be near 14.3 million, up from last month’s 13.3 million pace. However, this month-over-month sales-pace gain is from seasonal adjustment factors, not volume increases.

April sales volume is forecast to fall 1.7% from March, despite having the same number of selling days. After nearly a year, limited supplies of cars and trucks on dealer lots across the country continue to hamper new-vehicle sales. Year over year, sales volume is forecast to drop nearly 20%.

Last year, the U.S. auto market had a spring bounce to remember. April 2021 was one of the best-selling months in the U.S. market since the Great Recession, as the SAAR reached a pace of 18.3 million. Optimism around vaccines, coupled with $1,400 stimulus checks, led to a demand surge. However, inventory at dealerships across the country could not be replaced at previous production levels due to COVID-created supply chain issues, and supply was drawn down quickly. The market has been operating with tight inventories ever since.

Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough said: “The situation on the ground has not changed significantly for months. Product availability remains constrained, and many customers can only order their vehicles for future delivery. Improved inventory conditions will likely not happen in 2022 as many customers are now waiting for their already reserved vehicles to be built. We expect production volumes to improve in the second half of the year, but fulfilling existing orders may not allow dealer inventory to accumulate in any noticeable way.” 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 11 May 2022 14:25