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New Vehicle Sales Expected to Close 2020 Stronger Than Anticipated, According to Edmunds

The car shopping experts at Edmunds forecast that 4,036,744 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2020. This reflects a 2.8% increase in sales from the third quarter but a 5.7% decrease from Q4 of 2019. Edmunds analysts also estimate that 14,416,447 new vehicles will be sold in 2020, which reflects a 15.5% decrease in sales from 2019. Although this will put 2020 on track to be the lowest sales year for the automotive industry since 2012, Edmunds experts say that the number is much stronger than expected given major disruptions created by the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"Thinking back to the dire state of the market at the outset of the pandemic, it's such a testament to the incredible durability of the entire automotive industry — and the resilience of the American consumer — that we've seen such a healthy rebound in new car purchases this year," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights. "A big comeback story of 2020 is without a doubt the recovery of retail vehicle sales, which have nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels."

Edmunds experts note that the steady rise in average transaction prices (ATP) was another bright spot for the industry, because the increase also helped drive profitability for automakers and dealers. Edmunds analysts anticipate that the ATP for new vehicles will surpass the $40,000 mark for the first time on record in December as consumers continue to show no qualms about upsizing their purchases in favor of bigger vehicles with more amenities.

"It's certainly not much of a buyer's market right now: Inventory is still in short supply in certain areas, and automakers and dealers aren't faced with the pressure to use big discounts to clear out their lots like they normally do at this time of year," said Caldwell. "Although that's not stopping higher-earning consumers from continuing to enter the new market like they have throughout 2020, car shoppers who are a bit more price-sensitive might want to skip holiday shopping and wait until next year if they're looking for big bargains."

Looking ahead to 2021, Edmunds analysts note that there are still uncertainties ahead, but they remain confident that industry sales will continue at a steady pace without a dramatic decline like the one seen at the outset of the pandemic.

"Even if we face another wave of retail shutdowns, the good news is that dealers are far better prepared now for selling virtually than ever before," said Caldwell. "And vaccines on the way should only help keep consumer confidence high."

QUARTERLY SALES VOLUME FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER


Sales
Volume

2020 Q4
Forecast

Q4 2019
Sales

Q3 2020
Sales

Change
from Q4
2019

Change
from Q3
2020

GM

753,811

735,909

665,277

2.4%

13.3%

Toyota

652,940

604,017

558,449

8.1%

16.9%

Ford

517,309

601,862

551,796

-14.0%

-6.2%

FCA

498,042

542,519

507,351

-8.2%

-1.8%

Honda

365,915

401,961

388,433

-9.0%

-5.8%

Hyundai/Kia

341,337

340,482

339,586

0.3%

0.5%

Nissan

224,231

301,291

221,150

-25.6%

1.4%

VW/Audi

135,282

150,807

135,063

-10.3%

0.2%

Industry

4,036,744

4,280,263

3,924,968

-5.7%

2.8%


QUARTERLY MARKET SHARE FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER


Market
Share

2020 Q4
Forecast

 Q4 2019
Sales

Q3 2020
Sales

Change
from Q4
2019

Change
from Q3
2020

GM

18.7%

17.2%

16.9%

8.6%

10.2%

Toyota

16.2%

14.1%

14.2%

14.6%

13.7%

Ford

12.8%

14.1%

14.1%

-8.9%

-8.8%

FCA

12.3%

12.7%

12.9%

-2.7%

-4.6%

Honda

9.1%

9.4%

9.9%

-3.5%

-8.4%

Hyundai/Kia

8.5%

8.0%

8.7%

6.3%

-2.3%

Nissan

5.6%

7.0%

5.6%

-21.1%

-1.4%

VW/Audi

3.4%

3.5%

3.4%

-4.9%

-2.6%

ANNUAL SALES VOLUME FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER


SALES
VOLUME

2020 Forecast

2019 Sales

Change from
2019

GM

2,530,168

2,887,046

-12.4%

Toyota

2,105,165

2,382,852

-11.7%

Ford

2,019,304

2,422,698

-16.7%

FCA

1,819,247

2,203,663

-17.4%

Honda

1,346,634

1,608,170

-16.3%

Hyundai/Kia

1,224,397

1,323,496

-7.5%

Nissan

880,315

1,345,681

-34.6%

VW/Audi

492,539

587,433

-16.2%

Industry

14,416,447

17,058,892

-15.5%


ANNUAL MARKET SHARE FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER


Market  Share

2020  Forecast

2019 Sales

Change from
2019

GM

17.6%

16.9%

4%

Toyota

14.6%

14.0%

5%

Ford

14.0%

14.2%

-1%

FCA

12.6%

12.9%

-2%

Honda

9.3%

9.4%

-1%

Hyundai/Kia

8.5%

7.8%

9%

Nissan

6.1%

7.9%

-23%

VW/Audi

3.4%

3.4%

-1%

More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in the Edmunds Industry Center at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/.

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