Covid-19 cases may have started to rise worryingly toward the end of September but it didn’t slow down the automotive market for the month. Sales of new light vehicles for September were estimated by DAC to be up 2.4% over September 2019 reaching 169,876 units.
“Having the automotive market back in positive territory for a month is a huge step forward for the industry,” said Andrew King Managing Partner of DAC. “Whether this momentum can be continued through the Fall is an open question given the economic and social restrictions that may be put in place as part of the second wave. For now, however, sales are climbing with September easily being the most impressive month we have seen since the pandemic started.”
For the first three quarters of the year as a whole, Ford led the market selling close to 190 thousand units and gaining a full point of market share. In percentage terms Kia impressed year-to-date with a decline of only 10.3%. In total, 1.15 million units were sold year-to-date, down 23.7% from the same time in 2019.
For the third quarter specifically, sales reached 500,734 units, down just 3.9% from the third quarter of 2019.
In total, 8 of the reporting brands secured positive sales increases.
In the U.S., Incoming figures from reporting automakers are reflecting y/y improvements for the month, and on an unadjusted volume level the sales tally for the month is expected to be up 2-3% y/y, the first time since February 2020 the market will realize a monthly y/y improvement. The SAAR reading for the month is expected to improve from the 15.2 million unit reading in August, possibly bumping against a 16.0 million unit pace. But this would still be well below the 17.2 million unit reading of September 2019.
Chris Hopson, manager, North America Light Vehicle Sales Forecast and Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit said the outlook for the last quarter of the year remains blurred by political (election, stimulus policies) and economic uncertainty, but the sequential rise in auto demand levels from April reflects that consumers that are willing, ready and able to enter a new car purchase are doing so. IHS Markit forecasts full-year sales of about 14 million units in 2020. This is much stronger than earlier estimates, but still a nearly 18% y/y drop from 2019.