Edmunds.com October Auto Sales Forecast: Momentum Is Strong, But it May be a Bubble

Edmunds.com October Auto Sales Forecast: Momentum Is Strong, But it May be a Bubble

Edmunds.com October Auto Sales Forecast: Momentum Is Strong, But it May be a Bubble

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — October 27, 2011 — An estimated 1,033,257 new cars will be sold in October, for a projected Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 13.4 million units, forecasts Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information. This sales pace would mark the highest monthly SAAR since August 2009, when sales were inflated by the Cash for Clunkers program.

Edmunds.com analysts attribute October's sales results to the release of pent-up demand that has been building for more than a year. As a result, the auto industry may be in the midst of a small sales bubble.

"October's sales numbers are certainly a bright spot in a sluggish economy, but it would be a mistake to believe that this momentum is the 'new normal,' said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds.com. "Unless early holiday incentives inspire droves of buyers in November, we don't expect sales to increase on the same trajectory as we have seen in the last two months."

Sales Volume Oct-11 Forecast Oct-10 Sep-11 Change from Oct 2010 Change from Oct 2010 (adjusted)* Change from Sep 2011
GM 196,157 183,549 207,145 6.9% 11.0% -5.3%
Ford 170,259 157,650 174,862 8.0% 12.2% -2.6%
Toyota 130,925 145,474 121,451 -10.0% -6.5% 7.8%
Chrysler 114,865 90,137 127,334 27.4% 32.3% -9.8%
Honda 97,455 98,811 89,532 -1.4% 2.4% 8.8%
Nissan 82,459 69,773 92,964 18.2% 22.7% -11.3%
Industry 1,033,257 949,676 1,053,153 8.8% 13.0% -1.9%
*NOTE: October 2011 had 26 sales days; October 2010 had 27

Overall sales are expected to be down 1.9 percent from September 2011 and up 13.0 percent over October 2010. Edmunds.com estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 10.7 million vehicles in October (with fleet sales accounting for 20 percent of sales this month).

Caldwell stated, "Currently we're seeing the shift from compact cars back to midsized vehicles along with the typical sales boost for trucks and SUVs. By spreading out the demand among all these different segments, consumers are less affected by shortages and are paying lower prices across the board."

Market Share Oct-11 Forecast Oct-10 Sep-11 Change from Oct-10 Change from Sep-11
GM 19.0% 19.3% 19.7% -0.3% -0.7%
Ford 16.5% 16.6% 16.6% -0.1% -0.1%
Toyota 12.7% 15.3% 11.5% -2.6% 1.1%
Chrysler 11.1% 9.5% 12.1% 1.6% -1.0%
Honda 9.4% 10.4% 8.5% -1.0% 0.9%
Nissan 8.0% 7.3% 8.8% 0.6% -0.8%

With just two months left in 2011, the sales picture for 2012 is becoming clearer. Edmunds.com Chief Economist Lacey Plache, PhD, forecasts that 2012 car sales will reach approximately 13.5 million, up from 12.6 million units expected to be sold in 2011. Edmunds.com expects that improved buying conditions and the release of highly anticipated all-new vehicles like the 2012 Toyota Camry, the 2013 Chevy Malibu and the 2013 Ford Fusion will likely attract many customers.

"Loosening credit standards and low interest rates will provide extra motivation for buyers to return to the market in 2012," said Dr. Plache. "Some consumers will feel compelled to replace aging vehicles, while others, weary of the recession, may be triggered by an urge to spend. But the slow pace of overall economic recovery in the U.S. will keep sales growth at a moderate pace."

Dr. Plache's full 2012 sales forecast can be found at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/10/edmunds-sees-2012-car-sales-near-135-million.html.

For ongoing updates on automotive industry news and analysis, please register to receive the AutoObserver.com newsletter at http://www.edmunds.com/newsletter.

Additional data on sales, market share and incentive spending can also be found in Edmunds.com's Data Center at http://www.autoobserver.com/car-data-center/.

About Edmunds (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)

Edmunds publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.

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