Auto Sales Continue Downward Slide in February, Edmunds Forecasts

Analysts predict a SAAR of 16.8 million in February as automakers rein in incentives, right-size passenger car production


Santa Monica, CAFebruary 22, 2018 — Edmunds, the leading car shopping and information platform, forecasts that 1,273,428 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in February for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 16.8 million. This reflects a 10.8% increase in sales from January 2018 but a 4.1% decrease from February 2017.

“This year is going to be a bitter but necessary pill for the auto industry to swallow,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis. “Automakers are slowing production of passenger cars to react to declining demand, and are also trying to find the right balance between keeping sales strong and becoming too dependent on costly incentives. The industry is still in a fairly healthy place, but it may not feel like it since the last few years have been in record territory.”

While Presidents Day weekend marked the first auto sales event of the year, Edmunds analysts say automakers likely didn’t pull out all the stops to get customers into the showrooms. Average incentive spend hit a record high of $3,400 in 2017, and Edmunds analysts say that wasn’t a sustainable level.

“In a down market every sale is important, but this year automakers seem to be a bit more measured in how they’re using incentives,” Caldwell said. “Aggressive incentives generally only pull forward existing demand, and automakers seem to be learning the lesson that you can only borrow so much from the future before you end up paying for it.”

SALES VOLUME FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER

Sales Volume February 2018 Forecast February 2017 January 2018 Change from February 2017 Change from January 2018
GM 230,253 237,388 198,548 -3.0% 16.0%
Ford 194,976 207,464 160,411 -6.0% 21.5%
Toyota 174,406 174,339 167,056 0.0% 4.4%
Fiat Chrysler 147,113 168,326 132,803 -12.6% 10.8%
Nissan 129,113 135,740 123,538 -4.9% 4.5%
Honda 117,434 121,686 104,542 -3.5% 12.3%
Hyundai/Kia 90,251 95,693 76,870 -5.7% 17.4%
VW/Audi 40,000 38,886 39,255 2.9% 1.9%
Industry 1,273,428 1,328,391 1,149,821 -4.1% 10.8%

*NOTE: February 2018 had 24 selling days, February 2017 had 24, and January 2018 had 25.

Edmunds estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 13.3 million vehicles in February 2018, with fleet transactions accounting for 20.4% of total sales. An estimated 3.5 million used vehicles will be sold in February 2018, for a SAAR of 39.1 million (compared to 3.1 million—or a SAAR of 38.9 million—in January).

MARKET SHARE FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER

Market Share February 2018 Forecast February 2017 January 2018 Change from February 2017 Change from January 2018
GM 18.1% 17.9% 17.3% 0.2% 0.8%
Ford 15.3% 15.6% 14.0% -0.3% 1.4%
Toyota 13.7% 13.1% 14.5% 0.6% -0.8%
Fiat Chrysler 11.6% 12.7% 11.5% -1.1% 0.0%
Nissan 10.1% 10.2% 10.7% -0.1% -0.6%
Honda 9.2% 9.2% 9.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Hyundai/Kia 7.1% 7.2% 6.7% -0.1% 0.4%
VW/Audi 3.1% 2.9% 3.4% 0.2% -0.3%

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

About Edmunds

Edmunds is the leading car information and shopping platform, helping millions of visitors each month find their perfect car. Edmunds has a 20-year-old forums community of car shoppers and enthusiasts, where members can get shopping advice and learn what others are buying and leasing cars for. The company is regarded as one of America’s best workplaces by Fortune and Great Place to Work. Edmunds is based in Santa Monica, California, and has a satellite office in downtown Detroit, Michigan.

Media Contact

Talia James, Edmunds, 310-309-4900, PR@edmunds.com

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