Edmunds predicts that quarterly new vehicle sales will finish strong at 4,048,922 units by the end of June, boosted by pent-up demand and more buyer-friendly pricing.
The predicted volume would place Q2 sales ahead of Q1 by 13.8% and 16.1% year-over-year. General Motors will likely take the lead in terms of volume, followed by Toyota and Ford. All three brands saw higher new vehicle sales on both a quarterly and yearly basis. However, Toyota and Ford saw their market share decline by 8.4% and 4.4% from 2022, while Honda, ranking fifth for sales, saw a massive 27.7% increase over the same period. Edmunds’ director of insights Ivan Drury attributed the boost to an influx of returning customers: “More customers returned to the market with older trade-ins, which indicates that pent-up demand helped buoy sales.”
However, Drury also implies that the factors which have benefited new vehicle sales in 2023 may be nearing the end of their lifespan. “After five consecutive months of increasing discounts and vehicles sitting on dealer lots for longer periods of time, June shows that those trends are stalling a bit,” he writes. Should pricing, supply and incentives continue to level, the automotive industry could finally begin to stabilize. “With many automakers committing to better aligning production and demand, we might be on the cusp of seeing what a new normal sales pace looks like compared to the pre-pandemic years, when bloated inventories and deep discounts shaped the industry,” Drury remarks.
While manufacturers and dealers may benefit from this “new normal,” consumers are likely to be placed at a disadvantage. Affordability, combined with economic uncertainty, high inflation and rising interest rates, could spell trouble for new vehicle sales in the coming months.