US auto sales forecast Q1 2022 looks bleak due to chips, inflation

Linda D. Klein

New Jeeps are exhibited at a auto dealership on Oct 05, 2021 in New York Metropolis.

Spencer Platt | Getty Photos

Automakers will possible report sharp profits declines for March and the initial quarter, industry analysts say, as an ongoing shortage of new vehicles has still left motor vehicle-customers with handful of – and usually highly-priced – alternatives.

U.S. auto revenue forecasts from Cox Automotive, Edmunds, and J.D. Electric power/LMC Automotive say that 1st-quarter sales of cars and trucks, pickup vehicles and SUVs have been probably below 3.3 million, down more than 14% from the initial quarter of 2021.

For some automakers, the declines could be even worse. Edmunds expects Normal Motors, Honda, Nissan, and Volkswagen to report yr-over-yr revenue declines of far more than 20% for the to start with quarter, with Ford faring only a little bit much better.

But though gross sales are falling, rates are soaring: TrueCar analysts stated that the typical promoting price tag of a new car in the U.S. very likely rose 15.4% in March from a calendar year ago, to approximately $43,500.

Customer concerns about inflation – together with increased gasoline and automobile rates – probably played a part in the quarter’s projected gross sales decrease, which involves an envisioned fall of at least 24% in March. But the major issue is the skinny provide of new motor vehicles amid a worldwide lack of semiconductor chips.

“Skyrocketing gas selling prices have been leading of brain for consumers in March, but the lack of stock is what in the long run frustrated new automobile product sales in the to start with quarter,” claimed Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ government director of insights.

Edmunds’ forecast phone calls for a 15.2% calendar year-about-12 months decline in first-quarter vehicle profits. The corporation noted that inventories stay extremely slim, with just 20 days’ provide of gas-run autos and 21 days’ worthy of of electric vehicles available. Automakers commonly purpose to have ample motor vehicles in stock to previous 60 to 70 days.

Not only are automakers even now grappling with Covid-connected offer-chain disruptions, Caldwell observed, they may perhaps now be going through added supply problems in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. auto profits have traditionally ramped up in March as spring climate arrives in considerably of the U.S., noted Cox Automotive’s senior economist, Charlie Chesborough. He thinks that customer demand would probably be strong suitable now – if only automakers experienced a lot more vehicles to provide.

“Minimal unemployment, fairly minimal curiosity fees — the ailments are suitable for higher revenue,” Chesborough said. But, he mentioned, until automakers are able to boost the selection of autos on dealers’ lots, sales will continue being weak.

“Make no oversight,” he explained, “this market is caught in minimal gear.”

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