Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 4.8 million in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 11.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported July 2.

These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In June, employment in leisure and hospitality rose sharply.

Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, education and health services, other services, manufacturing, and professional and business services.

These statistics are from two monthly surveys. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry.

Kia Motors America’s June sales total of 47,870 vehicles featured retail-only sales within one percent of the June 2019 mark despite a shortage of the award-winning Telluride SUV and other select models. In the month that saw Kia rank number one in the industry in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study, the Sorento SUV led the way while the Sportage SUV delivered its best-ever retail performance in June.

“Despite the pandemic, demand for Kia’s world-class offerings such as the Telluride remains extraordinarily high. In fact, on a selling day adjusted basis, Kia’s retail sales were up nearly 6-percent year-over-year,” said Bill Peffer, vice president, sales operations, Kia Motors America. “Kia has once again topped the industry in initial quality and we are ready to begin the next chapter of our product story with the arrival of the all-new 2021 K5, which has been very well received by the media thus far, and consumers are already reaching out for details on future availability.”

FCA US LLC reported second-quarter sales of 367,086 vehicles – a 39 percent decline over the same period a year earlier – as the economic havoc caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in April was partially offset by the stronger than expected retail sales rebound in May and June.

Fleet sales were impacted in the quarter as customers initially delayed or reduced their orders, in addition as production restarted deliveries have been focused on the dealer channel.  

“This quarter demonstrated the resilience of the U.S. consumer,” said Head of U.S. Sales Jeff Kommor. “Retail sales have been rebounding since April as the reopening of the economy, steady gas prices and access to low interest loans spur people to buy. Our fleet volume remained low during the quarter as we prioritized vehicle deliveries to retail customers. As a result, we have built a strong fleet order book, which we will fulfill over the coming months.”

This was also the first quarter consumers could completely purchase their vehicles online through the company’s new Online Retailing Experience (ORE). ORE is accessible through the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, FIAT and Alfa Romeo websites, participating dealer sites and a variety of social media applications. Customers simply click on the link to begin the process. About 20 percent of new sales leads now come from online retailing compared with about 1 percent a year earlier.

“ORE is another tool dealers can now use to reach those consumers who like shopping from their home computer,” Kommor said.

New-Car Prices Jump

July 02, 2020

The valuation analysts at Kelley Blue Book reported the estimated average transaction price for a light vehicle in the United States was $38,530 in June 2020. New-vehicle prices increased $1,141 (up 3.1 percent) from June 2019, while rising $160 (up 0.4 percent) from last month.   

“Though Q2 sales are expected to be down 35 percent due to COVID-19 and the ensuing economic recession, transaction prices over this time strengthened more than normal,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “The industry average climbed 3 percent– helped by increases in non-luxury cars—and light truck sales mix at around 75 percent of the total market. Today’s new-car buyers are likely more financially secure despite the economic uncertainty, and they are purchasing a disproportionate number of trucks and SUVs. However, buyers are still shying away from luxury brands, which saw prices dip 1.5 percent.”

Supply and inventory challenges remain a concern across many parts of the country and in high-demand segments, due to factory shutdowns this past spring, and slow supply chain ramp-ups since. Along with a recent resurgence in used-car values, this will likely keep prices elevated during the summer months.

Cars continued their comeback, showing improvements of all body styles and averaging 3 percent gains. Compact cars led the way with nearly 4 percent increases, thanks in part to the new Sentra. Mid-size SUVs had the biggest jump of any segment, rising 6 percent on the redesigned Ford Explorer (up 12 percent), Jeep Wrangler (up 5 percent), and the all-new Hyundai Palisade, which sells for $42,516 on average, $2,000 higher than the segment average. Lastly, the mix of SUVs and trucks is still pushing the average new-vehicle price up, with June’s light truck mix expected to be around 76 percent, up from 71 percent one year ago.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the fleet management industry, resulting in a sharp reduction in vehicle sales across the world, according to Beroe Inc., a  provider of procurement intelligence and supplier compliance solutions.

As manufacturers return to production, global automotive sales forecast is revised to 20 percent reduction from the previous forecast of 22 percent, with sales of approximately 72 million units, according to Beroe Inc.. The impact of COVID-19 is high on car manufacturers and alternate mobility, and medium on leasing companies.

Car manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe are returning to production with limited capacities and adequate health safety measures, according to Beroe. There has been a slow resumption of fleet activities across the globe, majorly by the essential service operators. It is almost certain that the demand for fleet vehicles has reduced worldwide. OEMs are expected to offer high discounts, as the residual value is likely to reduce. Lease prices are expected to go up as residual values and profitability reduce.

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