State of Automotive & Consumer Behaviors, week of 9/20
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Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Key Industry Stat(s) of the Week
New vehicle inventory continues to fall, with the total supply of unsold new vehicles in the U.S. at just 2.26 million vehicles, which is down from 2.33 million in July and 3.13 million in August 2019. (Source: Cox Automotive, New-Vehicle Inventory, Especially Luxury, in Freefall)
- The days supply of vehicles also continues to drop, currently at 58 days, which is the lowest in recent years.
- Luxury vehicles, especially luxury SUVs, have been hardest hit by inventory levels, and brands like Land Rover only have 19 days supply of new vehicles; 29 days for Lexus; and 32 days for BMW.
- Next year’s model inventory is also historically low for this time of year, with only 2.5% of current new vehicle inventory consisting of 2021 models, down from 19% at this time last year.
- Low inventories have also helped increase average listing price of new vehicles, now up to an all-time high of $38,293.
New vehicle inventory struggle has meant the opposite for used vehicles, where the average trade-in value for used vehicles rose almost $2,000 to just over $14,000. (Source: The New York Times, Looking to Buy a Used Car in the Pandemic? So Is Everyone Else)
Cox Automotive releases Q3 2020 dealer sentiment index report (CADSI), which collects sentiment from auto dealers on how they view the auto market conditions. Findings from Q3 includes:
- Q3 had a score of 56 out of 100. This was 36 points higher than Q2, and was even 8 points higher than Q3 2019.
- Dealers cited these as the top 5 factors that are currently holding back business:
- Limited Inventory (cited by 60% of dealers)
- Business impacts from COVID-19 (49%)
- Market conditions (49%)
- The economy (39%)
- Political climate (27%)
Social Media eCommerce is Increasing, but the Vast Majority of U.S. Consumers Still Aren’t Buying
Several recent studies by eMarketer on Social Media Shopping have found that:
- 70% of U.S. adult social media users have never made a purchase via a social media platform. (Source: eMarketer, Seven in 10 US Adults Haven’t Bought Anything Via Social).
- Of the 30% surveyed who have made a purchase via social, Facebook was the top platform of choice at 18.3%, followed by Instagram at 11.1% and Pinterest in a distant third at 2.9%.
- Another study, however, found that 27% of U.S. adults 18-34 years old and 22% of U.S. adults 35-54 have not yet used social to make a purchase but are either very interested or somewhat interested in social media shopping. (Source: eMarketer, The Social Commerce Wars Heat Up).
Low Gas Prices Expected to Continue Into Next Year, Which is Good News for Truck/SUV Sales and Bad News for EV’s
- This summer, gas prices averaged $2.15 per gallon, the lowest mark since 2004. (Source: CBT News, Low fuel prices here to stay, according to AAA report)
- Low gas prices usually result in an increase in demand for larger vehicles like pickups and SUVs, and that seems to be holding true, now accounting for 70% of the retail automotive market.
- Electric vehicles, on the other hand, will most likely see their demand soften as fuel costs aren’t as big of a concern for consumers.
It’s Already Been Quite an Eventful September for Electric Vehicle Maker Nikola
- Early in the month it was announced that GM was taking a $2 billion equity stake in Nikola for 11% ownership, and GM will now be paid by Nikola to manufacture their much anticipated Badger pickup as well as electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. (Source: Los Angeles Times, GM take $2-billion stake in Nikola and partners on new electric pickup).
- Just a few days after the GM deal was announced, a report was released by Hindenburg Research alleging Nikola engaged in “lies and deception” when showcasing their technology, and specifically pointed to a video that showed a Nikola truck rolling down a hill rather than being powered by its own propulsion. Nikola has since made a public rebuttal of Hindenburg Research’s claims, and their stock price has mostly recovered. (Source: The Verge, Electric trucking startup Nikola defends itself from short-seller fraud allegations)
Cadillac Dealers Required to Make $200K Worth of Upgrades for Electric Vehicles
- Cadillac is requiring their dealers to invest $200,000 in electric vehicle chargers, tooling, and training in order to continue selling Cadillac vehicles beyond 2022. (Source: Automotive News, Cadillac requiring dealers to make $200,000 in upgrades for EVs)