October Car Sales Down 4.3% When Adjusted

TrueCar, Inc.’s  data and analytics subsidiary, ALG, projects total new vehicle sales will reach 1,339,420 units in October 2019, down 4.7% from a year ago when adjusted for the same number of selling days. This month’s seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for total light vehicle sales is an estimated 16.6 million units. Excluding fleet sales, ALG expects U.S. retail deliveries of new cars and light trucks to be 1,136,920 units, a decrease of 4.3% from a year ago when adjusted for selling days.

TrueCar also announced for the third year running, TrueCar Inc. is teaming up with AutoNation and DAV (Disabled American Veterans) as part of its DrivenToDrive program. Created for injured veterans who have made sacrifices for our independence, DrivenToDrive helps those with service-connected disabilities regain their own freedom and get back behind the wheel of vehicles. DrivenToDrive is a program created to honor American veterans who have lost this privilege of driving and want to regain their independence.

Cars represent more than simply a means of getting from point A to point B. From the moment someone gets their license and through every stage of life, driving means freedom and independence. It’s a privilege easily taken for granted, until it’s lost. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 4.7 million veterans have service-connected disabilities. While this community faces a number of challenges each day, physical mobility can be one of the most difficult to overcome.

“Even though consumer sentiment has improved month-over-month, lower incentive spend this month compared with September and the GM strike are contributing to lower sales in October,” said Oliver Strauss, Chief Economist for ALG, a subsidiary of TrueCar.

Additional Insights: (Forecast by ALG)

  • Among mainstream brands, Hyundai and Kia continue to show year-over-year sales growth and are expected to be up 9.8% and 5.4% respectively on total sales with lower incentives.
  • For luxury brands, Mercedes-Benz stands out and is expected to be up 7.3% year-over-year in total sales, and 12.4% in retail sales with incentives flat year-over-year.
    • Mercedes is expected to have a sales edge over BMW of close to 5,000 total unit sales for October as the race for the luxury sales leader ramps up moving toward the end of the year.
  • Tesla’s sales momentum continues to hold up despite difficult compares after last summer’s Model 3 ramp up. The electric automaker is expected to be up 18.4% in total units year-over-year.
  • GM and Nissan are forecast to be down 11.4% and 10.6% respectively in total unit sales compared to a year ago.
    • GM’s sales decline may be due to inventory availability related to the strike and shutdown of their factories.
    • Even with the largest expected dollar decline in incentives month-over-month, Nissan is still about 50% higher on incentives as a percentage of average transaction price than industry. Nissan’s fleet share is expected to reach 28% this month.
  • Average automaker incentive spend is expected to reach $3,767, up 4.7% or $170 dollars year-over-year, but down 5.1% or $204 from September 2019.
    • The most notable YoY declines in incentive spend are expected from Kia, Hyundai, and Nissan. Meanwhile FCA, GM, and Honda are expected to have double-digit incentive increases.
  • Used vehicle sales for October 2019 are expected to reach 3,439,074 up 3.7% from a year ago and up 0.2% from September 2019.

“The UAW strike has created a tricky sales landscape for GM. Incentives are down versus last month but are still elevated as the automaker competes for lucrative Fullsize Pickup share,” said Eric Lyman, Chief Industry Analyst at ALG, a subsidiary of TrueCar. “With the strike just ended, GM isn’t out of the woods yet as dealers must work with aging inventory ahead of ramped up production to refresh their showrooms going into the busy end of year selling season.”

October 2019 forecasts for the 13 largest manufacturers by volume: (Adjusted for same selling days as October 2018.) For additional data visit the ALG Newsroom.

Total Unit Sales

Manufacturer Oct 2019 Oct 2018 YoY % Change
(Days selling rate)
BMW  29,157  26,522 5.9%
Daimler  34,129  31,814 3.3%
FCA  172,913  177,391 -6.1%
Ford  183,394  191,682 -7.9%
GM  219,764  238,953 -11.4%
Honda  130,014  122,182 2.5%
Hyundai  58,220  53,025 5.7%
Kia  47,550  45,102 1.5%
Nissan  102,096  109,962 -10.6%
Subaru  55,702  55,394 -3.2%
Tesla  17,526  14,800 14.0%
Toyota  190,895  191,102 -3.8%
Volkswagen Group  51,527  50,251 -1.3%
Industry  1,339,420  1,353,846 -4.7%

Retail Unit Sales

Manufacturer Oct 2019 Oct 2018 YoY % Change
(Days selling rate)
BMW  26,814  25,623 4.6%
Daimler  33,056  29,412 12.4%
FCA  132,939  140,224 -5.2%
Ford  135,579  141,573 -4.2%
GM  181,242  184,321 -1.7%
Honda  127,012  120,085 5.8%
Hyundai  46,082  41,843 10.1%
Kia  42,167  38,337 10.0%
Nissan  73,694  87,270 -15.6%
Subaru  53,827  54,438 -1.1%
Tesla  17,526  14,800 18.4%
Toyota  172,264  173,131 -0.5%
Volkswagen Group  49,132  48,852 0.6%
Industry  1,136,920  1,143,761 -0.6%

Incentive Spending (Per Unit)

Manufacturer Oct 2019     Oct 2018 YoY % Change
BMW $5,683 $5,549 2.4%
Daimler $5,808 $5,806 0.0%
FCA $4,835 $4,356 11.0%
Ford $4,576 $4,400 4.0%
GM $4,683 $4,229 10.7%
Honda $2,167 $1,965 10.3%
Hyundai $2,565 $2,669 -3.9%
Kia $3,523 $3,749 -6.0%
Nissan $4,196 $4,326 -3.0%
Subaru $1,242 $1,165 6.6%
Toyota $2,458 $2,495 -1.5%
Volkswagen Group $3,824 $3,760 1.7%
Industry $3,767 $3,596 4.7%

(Note: This forecast is based solely on ALG’s analysis of industry sales trends and conditions and is not a projection of the company’s operations.)