A Cox Automotive report has revealed that February new-vehicle supply and sales grew year-over-year.
Available Inventory data from vAuto showed that overall supply grew by roughly 50,000 units last month, climbing to 1.8 million new cars from January’s 1.75 million. In comparison to the same period in 2022, supply grew by 68% or 730,000. Days’ supply averaged 56, a slight month-over-month decline, but significantly higher than the previous February, and closer to the recommended duration of 60 days. Meanwhile, a 9% year-over-year increase was also observed in sales, which reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales (SAAR) of 14.9 million. This number is slightly below January’s sales total of 15.9 million, but represents a 1.2 million or 9% gain over last February. Both supply and sales were supported by a strong fleet market.
Charlie Chesbrough, Cox Automotive’s Senior Economist, attributed the improved sales to supply gains, adding that “new-vehicle sales are showing surprising strength, considering the relentless talk of a recession, growing economic headwinds, and continued inflation, especially in the form of high vehicle prices and continually rising interest rates.”
Despite the gains in supply and sales, asking prices and average transaction prices dipped in February from January, although both were up 6% and 5% from last year. This correlates with an increase in OEM incentives, as automakers readjust to a normal level of supply. While still less than ideal, last month’s incentives were at the highest level since last March, with an average discount of $1,474 per new car. Chesbrough expects this to happen again in the coming months, although he notes that, “Right now it feels like automakers are waiting for the other guy to blink first.”