Early November Sales - AutoObserver

Early November Sales

Looking at sales for the first week of November, sales look very similar to October. In fact, we seem to have settled into a pacing since September of a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of just slightly over 13 million.

Unit retail sales for November are tracking towards a total of 798,000 (or a SAAR of 10.8 million). This compares with 831,000 units last month (the retail SAAR is identical at 10.9 million). Add in a fleet mix of 18.5 percent and we get to a total of 979,000 units sold, or a SAAR of 13.3 million (this compares with 1,020,000 units sold, or a SAAR of 13.26 million last month).

Looking at changes in retail share, Mercedes is up substantially (they were up in early September as well). Chrysler is also up, while Nissan and Honda are down.

A couple of other items worth noting. The first is that inventories are still a factor. So we do have buyers -- who deferred a purchase earlier this year when prices were high and selection limited -- returning to the market. But this lift is not fully felt as prices and supply, while improved, are still not at normal levels. The second is that, unlike the earthquake in Japan, which triggered a rush of buyers in late March and early April looking to buy before shortages became a factor, the flooding in Thailand seems to have largely escaped the consumer's notice.

Production constraints imposed by parts shortages related to the flooding may drag down sales, slightly, but this will not be felt until the end of the year.

Jeremy Anwyl: Vice Chairman of Edmunds.com. Follow @JeremyAnwyl on Twitter.

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