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Cox Automotive Update: October 2021 Sales Beat Our Forecast


While our Atlanta-based Cox Automotive team was counting runs in Game 6 of the World Series last evening, the auto industry was tallying October auto sales. And fans of the auto industry had reason to celebrate as if they were living in Atlanta. 

While certainly down year over year, October sales were more robust than forecast, perhaps showing early signs of improving inventory conditions. As Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke noted, "It's not getting worse out there." Cautious words, indeed. But with new-vehicle inventory still roughly one-half the level of one year ago, the industry is hardly running at full throttle. Consumers will continue to face high prices and limited choices for the foreseeable future. 

The Cox Automotive team updated the October forecast this morning, noting sales last month were stronger than predicted. Sales numbers, however, are only telling a small part of the industry's story right now. As Brian Finkelmeyer, senior director of new vehicle solutions, wrote earlier this week, the volume leaders are not always the winners. Revenue generation is still the lifeblood of this industry, and by that measure it's hard to overlook mainstream brands from Detroit. Of late, thanks to low incentives and high transaction prices, their volume is mainstream, but their revenue-per-sale is total luxury, in the $50,000 neighborhood. It's a seller's market. 

Later this week, the team will be looking at wholesale auction prices for the month of October. And the Q3 Kelley Brand Book Brand Watch report for the non-luxury segment will be published. Check back to the Cox Automotive Newsroom. 

As always, if you have any questions or would like to follow up with anyone from the Cox Automotive Industry Insights team, feel free to reach out. The Cox Automotive PR team would be happy to help. And I'm sure they'd be happy to discuss their latest World Series win as well.  Be sure to visit and bookmark the Cox Automotive Auto Market Snapshot to keep track of all the latest industry data. All our freshest metrics, all in one place.