Vehicle market summary: U.S. outlook for full-year 2013
Sales of January-September 2013 period are at 11.78 million units, recovery continues backed by gradual improvement in economic situation
Passenger car and light truck sales in the US in the January-September 2013 period grew 8.1% year-over-year (y/y) to 11,786,000 units backed by a rise in replacement demand. This rise is thanks to a gradual improvement in the unemployment rate and a persistent low interest rate. By quarter, sales in the third quarter (July to September) increased 9.0% y/y, showing a steady increase from the first quarter (up 6.5%) and the second quarter (up 8.8%). The single-month sales in September dropped from the same month a year ago for the first time in 28 months (see Figure 2). This drop can be ascibed to two factors; The number of business days at dealers was two days less in September than those in 2012; A part of sales on Labor Day was registered as sales in August. However, the decrease was offset by strong sales in July and August.
Among leading groups, second place Ford expands market share; ninth place Subaru continues to be...
As for sales of passenger cars and light trucks sales in the leading groups for the January-September 2013 period, the top five groups of GM, Ford, Toyota, Fiat-Chrysler and Honda saw increased sales (see Table 1). Among these five groups, second place Ford recorded a 12.0% increase y/y, exceeding the market average. Brisk sales of a wide range of models, including F-Series pickup trucks, Escape SUV and Fusion midsize sedan (see Table 2) pushed its market share up to 16.0%, up 0.5 point from 2012 level.
As for other leading groups, ninth place Subaru posted a 27.7% increase, the largest increase among 10 leading groups. With strong sales of the new Forester and XV Crosstrek released in autumn 2012 or later, Subaru will surely hit a record sales again in 2013. Meanwhile, sixth place Hyundai-Kia was the sole group among 10 leading groups that posted a sales decline, recording a 1.0% drop. The factor behind this decline was a 12.9% drop in sales of its flagship model Sonata facing competition with the Ford Fusion and Honda Accord.]
Full-year sales forecast for 2013 to exceed 15.5 million units
In a full-year sales outlook for 2013, passenger car and light truck sales are forecast to exceed 15.5 million units, getting close to 16 million units recorded in 2007 (see Figure 1). As shown in Figure 4, seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) has been in the range of 15.2 million to 16.1 million for the nine months of January to September, with a nine-month average of 15.51 million units. As of September 2013, Dr. Mustafa Mohatarem, General Motors’ Chief Economist, forecast that the figure will be at the 15.8 million-unit level, while LMC Automotive’s estimate was 15.6 million. Despite negative factors including the financial issues of the US government and the unstable situation in the Middle East, steady growth is expected to continue backed by an improvement to the unemployment rate and a low-interest rate on new car purchases.
(Table1)：US Light Vehicle Sales by Group (Q3 2013, Jan.-Sep. 2013)
（Table2）：US Top 20 Selling Models for Jan.-Sep 2013