This month’s new car sales are set to rise from last January but decline from December, according to a preliminary forecast from Cox Automotive.
In early 2023, the auto market was still heavily constrained by supply chain disruptions and manufacturing delays stemming from the COVID pandemic. It was not until the second quarter that conditions became more favorable, allowing the industry to make considerable gains in terms of production and meeting demand.
As a result, Cox Automotive expects new car sales to rise 8.3% year-over-year this month, with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15.8 million compared to the pace of 15.1 million observed last January.
While these results reflect marked annual improvements, they also represent a sharp decline from late 2024. In December, new car sales rose approximately 6.2% from the previous year, reversing a seasonal slump witnessed in the first half of the fourth quarter.
This strong performance is likely to overshadow January’s new car sales, with Cox Automotive forecasting a month-over-month decline of 21.3%. Demand for all car segments is projected to fall from December, with losses ranging from 26.8% for compact SUVs and crossovers to just 1.7% for mid-size vehicles.
Nevertheless, the retail automotive sector still has much to look forward to in the days ahead. Compared to last year, inventory and incentives are in a significantly healthier state, giving dealers more opportunities to improve efficiency and profitability across operations.
While new car sales may be down from December, the fleet market is also expected to continue expanding at a notable rate, rising as much as 7% by the end of 2024, opening even more pathways to long-term growth.