U.S. retail sales of new vehicles are expected to fall nearly a quarter in September, hurt by depleting inventories, even as consumer spending remains strong, consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said in a joint forecast on Tuesday. New vehicle retail sales in the United States are seen dropping to 888,900 units in September, from 1,182,788 a year ago. “September results show that there are simply not enough vehicles available to meet consumer demand,” J.D. Power said in a statement.
While demand remains sky-high for personal transportation, with consumers set to spend billions in September, automakers are crimped by semiconductor shortages and supply chain disruptions. The gap between demand and supply is leading to record vehicle prices, with the average transaction price in September expected to reach an all-time high of $42,802, J.D. Power said. Used vehicle prices are also starting to heat up as the fall season gets underway after cooling in late June and July, J.D. Power added.
LMC Automotive warned that the recovery in the auto industry may be pushed until 2022, if not 2023, due to the worsening disruptions. September’s seasonally adjusted annualized rate for new vehicle sales will be 12.2 million, down four million units from 2020 and about 800,000 units less than 2019. Major automakers, including General Motors Co (GM.N) and Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), are set to report monthly and quarter deliveries in the next two weeks.