COX AUTOMOTIVE – U.S. new-vehicle sales in August are expected to show that the substantially slower pace of new-vehicle sales that started a year ago continues as new-vehicle supply remains virtually unchanged. According to the Cox Automotive forecast, the August U.S. auto sales pace, or seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), is expected to finish flat month over month at 13.3 million, up from last year’s 13.1 million level.

The sales volume in August is forecast to finish near 1.14 million units, up 3.6% from last year but down 0.3% from July. With 26 selling days in August, the same as last month and one more than last year, the year-over-year gain in volume is expected to be lifted by the extra day.

“New-vehicle inventory remains essentially unchanged since tight inventory started severely limiting sales in July 2021,” said Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough. “The headwinds to a sales recovery this year are growing as buying conditions worsen. Rising interest rates and historically low consumer sentiment are keeping many potential buyers out of the new-vehicle market. And high prices for both gasoline and vehicles are making affordability an even greater challenge. However, the lack of supply is the biggest obstacle over the near term, and there is little evidence of new-vehicle supply returning to a healthier level.” 

Most industry forecasters, including Cox Automotive, expect the chip shortage and other supply chain problems to improve slightly by year-end. Still, the pace of that recovery will be varied and volatile.

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