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US Auto Sales Show Resilience in May, Though Affordability Concerns Persist

Published: 6.6.2023

According to industry experts at Cox Automotive, US new vehicle sales are projected to reach approximately 14.9 million vehicles on a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in May. While this figure reflects a 2.3 million year-on-year increase, it is a decline from April's sales of 15.9 million vehicles. Cox attributes this dip to ongoing affordability challenges driven by high-interest rates and elevated prices of new vehicles. 


The affordability issues faced by consumers have played a significant role in dampening sales growth. The combination of rising interest rates and higher prices of new vehicles has made it more challenging for potential buyers to enter the market. These factors have contributed to a more cautious approach among consumers, leading to a moderation in sales volume compared to the previous month. 

Cox Automotive's estimates also indicate that new vehicle inventory levels have seen an increase. By the end of May, the inventory of new vehicles rose to approximately 1.9 million units, compared to 1.1 million units a year ago and 1.8 million units in April. The rise in inventory levels may be partially attributed to the production ramp-up by automakers in response to recovering demand.  


While the US auto industry faces headwinds in terms of affordability and inventory levels, there are still positive signs of resilience. Despite the challenges, the year-on-year growth in sales demonstrates the underlying strength of the market and the ongoing demand for new vehicles. As the economy recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer sentiment and spending power are expected to play a vital role in shaping the trajectory of future auto sales. 


Automakers and dealerships continue to adapt to the changing market dynamics by offering incentives, flexible financing options, and competitive pricing to attract buyers. Efforts to address affordability concerns and provide value to consumers are crucial in stimulating sales growth and maintaining a healthy automotive industry. 


As the year progresses, industry experts will closely monitor sales trends and consumer behavior to gauge the impact of various factors, such as interest rates, supply chain challenges, and economic conditions, on the auto market. Despite the current obstacles, the industry remains resilient and committed to meeting the evolving needs of consumers while striving for a sustainable and prosperous future. 

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