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

New Jeeps are exhibited at a vehicle dealership on Oct 05, 2021 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Automakers will probably report sharp gross sales declines for March and the to start with quarter, business analysts say, as an ongoing shortage of new autos has left auto-customers with couple of – and generally highly-priced – alternatives.

U.S. car revenue forecasts from Cox Automotive, Edmunds, and J.D. Electrical power/LMC Automotive say that very first-quarter gross sales of cars and trucks, pickup vans and SUVs have been probably down below 3.3 million, down much more than 14% from the to start with quarter of 2021.

For some automakers, the declines may possibly be even worse. Edmunds expects Standard Motors, Honda, Nissan, and Volkswagen to report calendar year-more than-yr income declines of additional than 20% for the initial quarter, with Ford faring only a little far better.

But even though revenue are slipping, prices are mounting: TrueCar analysts explained that the typical marketing price of a new motor vehicle in the U.S. probably rose 15.4% in March from a 12 months ago, to practically $43,500.

Purchaser fears about inflation – such as better gasoline and vehicle costs – probable played a function in the quarter’s projected revenue decrease, which involves an predicted drop of at least 24% in March. But the most significant component is the skinny supply of new autos amid a world shortage of semiconductor chips.

“Skyrocketing fuel selling prices were being top of mind for customers in March, but the deficiency of inventory is what in the long run depressed new automobile revenue in the initially quarter,” reported Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights.

Edmunds’ forecast phone calls for a 15.2% year-above-calendar year drop in first-quarter auto revenue. The organization described that inventories stay pretty slim, with just 20 days’ supply of gasoline-driven vehicles and 21 days’ really worth of electric vehicles available. Automakers usually intention to have sufficient automobiles in stock to final 60 to 70 times.

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

U.S. auto product sales have traditionally ramped up in March as spring weather comes in a great deal of the U.S., noted Cox Automotive’s senior economist, Charlie Chesborough. He thinks that client demand from customers would most likely be powerful appropriate now – if only automakers experienced extra automobiles to promote.

“Reduced unemployment, somewhat small fascination rates — the situations are right for bigger income,” Chesborough explained. But, he mentioned, until finally automakers are in a position to boost the quantity of motor vehicles on dealers’ lots, sales will keep on being weak.

“Make no error,” he reported, “this industry is trapped in very low equipment.”