Cox Automotive sales forecast shows the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) to finish near 16.9 million, up from last month’s strike-impacted 16.5 million level, but down slightly from the current 2019 year-to-date pace near 17 million.

Total sales through October are down 1.4 percent, compared to last year, and this negative trend is expected to continue. Sales volume, supported by an extra selling day, is expected to finish down 0.4 percent compared to November 2018. Sales, however, will be up nearly 4 percent from last month.

One key factor will be incentives, which generally rise at the end of the year as OEMs try to push old inventory to make way for new products. Black Friday and year-end sales promotions have become an important part of the sell-down strategy and are even more important in a downward moving retail market. Another key factor for November’s results will be the recovery of GM sales in the wake of the long strike.

“We believe GM fleet activity, and likely some retail, was significantly lower in October by tens of thousands of units as factory closures disrupted deliveries,” said Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough. “The question for the market this month is whether these sales were simply delayed, replaced or canceled.”

As another data point to monitor the health of the automotive market, Cox Automotive is launching a 13-month rolling used-vehicle seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). With the average new-vehicle transaction price remaining north of $37,000, the used-vehicle market continues to see high demand, Cox reported.

While 2019 is expected to be the peak year of off-lease vehicles returning to the market, Cox anticipates that off-lease volumes will remain close to this level for at least another year. Moreover, the off-lease product mix is changing with trucks and crossovers representing more of the supply and providing more attractive used vehicle alternatives to would-be new-vehicle buyers.

The August used-vehicle SAAR is 39.8 million units. The used retail SAAR takes it a step further by only looking at used vehicles sold via a dealership (both franchised and independent) thus removing private party sales from the calculation. The August retail used-vehicle SAAR is 19.9 million units.

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