The Softening Auto Market

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ESA Car Keys | The March US automotive market came in short of expectations, finishing 2017’s Q1 at -1.4%. The market’s SAAR is pacing at its lowest level since October 2014 (16.5M units). On the plus side, vehicle incentives are down.

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(Thud) There Goes 2016’s Record Auto Pace

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ESA Car Keys | That loud thud you heard was August’s US auto market falling far short of expectations and 2016’s record sales pace. The SAAR for August finished at 16.91M units.

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Ten Years, 10 Points

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Ten points in ten years.

No, we’re not talking about Jackie Moon’s all-time ABA points total.

Ten years ago, in July 2006, Detroit’s Big 3 accounted for 55% of YTD US auto sales (year-to-date vehicle sales for the first seven months of 2006). In July of 2016, we have seen those same three automakers — granted, Chrysler is now FCA — contract to a total of just 45%.

One might guess that Toyota or Honda grabbed a large portion of those 10 massive points of share — worth 1.75M vehicles on an annual basis. But as the chart clearly demonstrates, the balance of share is dispersing in the auto market.

There are “other” automakers, like Subaru, Hyundai, Kia, Audi, BMW — and even VW, despite its recent emissions issues — that have accounted for the majority of this seismic shift in the US auto market.

Looking for up-to-the-minute automotive intel for YOUR market? Follow ESA Car Keys, or tune into ESA’s Top 5 Minute video series, especially Adam Armbruster’s segment on automotive profitability challenges from ESA’s Top 5 Big Digs Webinar on August 24, 2016.


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Adam Armbruster, ESA & Company | Real. Local. ResultsAdam Armbruster is a Senior Partner in the retail and media strategy firm ESA & Company. He can be reached at adam@esacompany.com.


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July’s Incentives Fuel Auto Market Rebound

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The second half of 2016 started with a bang, as July’s SAAR hit 17.77M units, the strongest July in over a decade. This tally coincided with a wave of increased incentives (up 5.2% YOY), as average transaction prices dropped. Light trucks accounted for a staggering 61.1% of volume, while passenger car sales were down -9% from July 2015.

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June US Auto Market Cools Down

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ESA Car Keys | Once again, US light vehicle sales showed gains and losses in June 2016, as the SAAR dipped all the way down to 16.6M units.

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Mixed May in US Auto Market

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ESA Car Keys | May saw in increase in the SAAR to 17.37M units, but a 6.1% drop in volume versus May 2015. GM and VW were both down big (-18% and -17.2%, respectively).

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April US Auto Sales Rebound to 17M+ Pace

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ESA Car Keys | April’s rebound in the US automotive market to 17M+ territory comes with its caveats. Sales volume was up, but daily sales rate was down for the month.

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Has the Auto Market Peaked?

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ESA Car Keys | Has the US auto market finally reached a pinnacle and begun to plateau or decline? Here are three questions that were answered with March’s decline in the market.

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Car Keys: Storm? Strong Start in 2016 for Automotive

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ESA Car Keys | Not even the Blizzard of 2016 could stop the US auto market from posting another solid month in January.

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Car Keys: Automotive’s Big Year

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ESA Car Keys | With a solid December performance, the US auto market finished 2015 with the highest full-year auto volume ever at 17.47M units, surpassing a 15-year record from 2000.

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