Retail new-car sales projected to be up 8% year-on-year
U.S. sales of new vehicles are expected to jump more than 13% in September, which would be the second straight month of double-digit sales as a strike hampers production at the Big Three automakers.
That’s according to a joint forecast from J.D. Power and GlobalData, who projected the sale of 1,309,900 vehicles through retail as well as wholesale channels for the month, a 13.8% rise from September 2022.
The forecast is adjusted for one extra selling day this September, the companies said. Retail-only new-car sales are seen up 8% year-on-year.
Tesla Inc. TSLA, +2.44% and General Motors Co. GM, +2.50%, which long have moved to report quarterly sales rather than monthly, are expected to update investors on their third-quarter numbers next week. Ford Motor Co. F, +1.37% and U.S. units of several foreign-based carmakers will report September sales around the same time.
More than 18,000 autoworkers from Ford, GM and Stellantis NV STLA, +2.45% are on strike, with the union saying earlier Wednesday it could announce more sites at which to strike on Friday.
The United Auto Workers strike started on Sept. 14 and was expanded to GM and Stellantis distribution centers last Friday, breaking with a longstanding tradition of striking at all facilities of one company at a time.
According to J.D. Power and GlobalData, the September figures would take the seasonally adjusted annualized rate for new-vehicle sales to 15.4 million vehicles, up 2 million vehicles from September 2022.
The strike is hitting automakers at a time when their inventories have increased, and most observers don’t expect an immediate effect on car sales unless the strike drags on for longer than expected. A 2019 strike at GM lasted nearly six weeks.
Average U.S. car prices ticked up to around $48,000, and buyer incentives are still rare at dealerships and usually applied to cars that are not among the most sought-after vehicles. Higher interest rates are another barrier.