U.S. auto sales slid again at Toyota Motor Corp. and American Honda, while Ford Motor Co., Hyundai and Kia deliveries rose by double digits last month compared with August 2021, as the market begins to slowly bounce back and the industry's chronic inventory shortages slowly ease.
U.S. light-vehicle deliveries rose 4.8 percent last month, Ford said Aug. 2, above the range of forecasts for a 3.6 to 4.6 percent gain. The market was helped by an extra selling day and higher fleet shipments, marking the first monthly gain, year over year, since July 2021.
August was the third consecutive month light-vehicle sales totaled 1.13 million units, LMC Automotive said. And retail sales remained under 1 million units for the fourth consecutive month in August, according to preliminary data from LMC Automotive.
The seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate tallied 13.2 million in August, LMC Automotive said, within the 13.1 million to 13.3 million range of forecasts from Cox Automotive, J.D. Power, LMC Automotive and S&P Global Mobility. The SAAR, which tallied 13.19 million in August 2021 and 13.5 million in July, has failed to consistently climb above 15 million since July 2021, reflecting weak inventory levels.
“The industry is still struggling with the combination of lean inventories, very expensive vehicles, and higher interest
rates," said Augusto Amorim, senior manager of sales forecasting for the Americas at LMC Automotive. "Stable sales for three months are not a bad sign considering all these negatives factors and suggest that demand remains higher than supply."
August 2021 was the first month when chronic inventory shortages had a significant impact on new-vehicle sales following the start of the pandemic.
Still, while consumer demand is strong, rising interest rates and sticker prices remain market hurdles, prompting analysts to cut their outlook for 2022 industry sales. LMC Automotive on Friday slashed its outlook for 2022 sales to 13.8 million from 14.3 million. S&P Global Mobility last week reduced its forecast for U.S. auto sales in 2022 to 14.1 million, from 14.6 million as recently as July.