Edmunds analysts see an uptick in first-quarter new-vehicle sales as a sign that the industry is on its way back to post-pandemic normalcy.
The automotive research provider forecasts that first-quarter sales climbed 5.2% year-over-year to 3.5 million. That’s down nearly 2%, though, from the fourth quarter.
“The auto industry’s wild rollercoaster ride the past few years has finally begun the transition to a smoother, more predictable one as inventory continued to improve in the first quarter,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights.
It’s still a long way from the plentiful bargains available before the pandemic, Caldwell said, but she points out that incentives are becoming more common with rising inventories.
Due to greater vehicle supply, models are spending more time in dealer lots, Edmunds says: an average 34 days, compared to 24 a year earlier.
The average age of trade-in vehicles also increased, from 5.3 years a year earlier to 5.9 years.
Rising interest rates threaten to put a damper on the improved conditions, creating “barriers to entry for even the most qualified buyers,” Caldwell said.
“As more consumers sit out of the market, we can expect to see pent-up demand grow even further.”
Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today