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Cox Auto News Roundup November 9, 2021


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Welcome to From the Newsroom, a roundup of news from Cox Automotive and perspectives from its analysts and experts on topics dominating the automotive industry.

The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index (MUVVI) saw a surprising and historic increase in October. In a month that usually sees above-average vehicle depreciation and declining used-vehicle prices, the October MUVVI hit another record high.
 
And it wasn't just in wholesale. New-vehicle transaction prices increased again in October, as reported in the latest
Auto Market Weekly Summary. The average price paid according to Kelley Blue Book jumped to a new record high, while average incentives fell to a 20-year low. A full analysis of average transaction prices will be available later this week.
 
High prices may be impacting sales, but it’s hard to know for certain with supply remaining so tight. Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke said in his Auto Market Report video published this morning, “The theme of the month seems to be that conditions are getting better or at least not getting worse.”

New-vehicle sales were up slightly in October month over month, and that trend continues so far in November. Still, the new-vehicle sales pace has been down notably year over year in recent months. Revenue has been strong, though, and revenue generation always trumps sales volume, a fact that Brian Finkelmeyer, senior director of new-vehicle solutions at Cox Automotive, explores in his
 latest opinion piece.

In the Q3 2021 Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch reports, Toyota takes most-shopped honors in the non-luxury segment (and Hyundai cracks the Top 5 for the first time) while BMW holds onto its top spot in the luxury segment, despite a notable drop.
 
DON’T MISS: “
Digital Retailing: The Key To Making Consumers Love Car Buying,” a Commentary & Voices article by Kevin Filan, vice president of marketing at Cox Automotive, was published this morning.


We hope you find this selection of articles informative and useful. Visit the Newsroom for the latest on the industry’s most important topics, and bookmark the Auto Market Snapshot, a one-stop dashboard for the data our team is tracking.

MANHEIM INDEX SHOWS HISTORIC WHOLESALE PRICE INCREASE IN OCTOBER

Wholesale used vehicle prices (on a mix-, mileage-, and seasonally adjusted basis) increased 9.2% month over month in October. This brought the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index to 223.7, a 38.1% increase from a year ago. Some of the monthly increase is a result of the seasonal adjustment, as October typically sees above-average vehicle depreciation and therefore used price declines. This October was the first October in the history of the Manheim Index data, which dates to 1997, to see a non-seasonally adjusted price increase in October. The non-adjusted price increase in October was 5.4%.
 
Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke explains: “The October results were surprising. We had expected gains, but demand was much stronger throughout the month. October is normally a month that we see some of the least aggressive buying at wholesale by dealers because the used retail market is typically the slowest in the last months of the year. Usually, the new market gets all of the retail attention in the fall because of new models being rolled out and old models being discounted. That’s not the case this year as the production and supply chain problems have led to record low inventories and positioned the used market to be even stronger.” 
See the Data Point for more details and commentary.

THEME OF THE MONTH: CONDITIONS ARE GETTING BETTER OR AT LEAST NOT WORSE

Industry indicators are heading in the right directions, according to Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke in his latest Auto Market Report video published this morning. Indicators such as COVID-19 cases, vaccination rates, jobless claims, jobs created and consumer sentiment are all improving.

New-vehicle sales ended October slightly better than September, and that trend continues so far in November. That said, supply continues to be very tight, and strong demand is leading to one negative that can’t be overlooked 
 continued higher prices in both the new and used markets.

Read more in the Auto Market Weekly Summary and watch the Auto Market Report video to find out the latest from Smoke on the economic and industry indicators.


TAPERING BEGINS THIS MONTH, BUT RATE PATH DEPENDS ON THE ECONOMY

U.S. monetary policy is now entering a tightening phase as the Fed issued their official statement following the seventh meeting of 2021 last week. The auto market has enjoyed stable and favorable credit trends all year, but we’re likely past the lowest of the lows. The year-over-year comparisons will start to turn unfavorable going forward.
 
Average auto loan rates have started November moving slightly higher after moving lower in October. It is likely that consumers will continue to see relatively low rates and favorable terms at least until the Fed is driving rates higher. However, bond yields can move ahead of the Fed, so credit conditions could change more rapidly if indeed the path of the economy ends up differently than the Fed is currently expecting. 
See more of Smoke’s take on the Fed’s actions in Smoke on Cars.


Q3 2021 KELLEY BLUE BOOK BRAND WATCH: HYUNDAI AND BMW TOP MOST-SHOPPED BRANDS
 

The Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch™ report is a consumer perception survey that weaves in consumer shopping behavior to determine how a brand or model stacks up with its segment competitors on a dozen factors key to a consumer’s buying decision. Kelley Blue Book produces a separate Brand Watch report for non-luxury and luxury brands each quarter.
 
Hyundai cracked the list of Top 5 Most Considered Brands in the third quarter, according to the Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch report for
non-luxury brands. It was the first time since 2012 that Hyundai ranked that high.
 
BMW retained its spot as the most-shopped luxury brand, but Lexus is closing in on the German brand, according to the Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch report for
luxury brands. BMW has dominated its competitors in shopping consideration for 13 quarters but barely held onto the top spot in the third quarter.

 

THE SALES VOLUME LEADERS ARE NOT ALWAYS THE WINNERS

In an opinion piece published last week, Brian Finkelmeyer, senior director of new-vehicle solutions at Cox Automotive, posits that success or failure in the new-car business should no longer be presented through the narrow lens of monthly sales results.
 
Instead, he suggests that many of the other industry stats are the ones that matter most. Indeed, in this new age of tight inventory, sky-high transaction prices and record-low incentives, a better way to look at the industry is with an eye on the revenue generated as opposed to units sold. 
Read more of his thoughts and find out how the brands from Detroit continue to be the biggest winners in the revenue generation race. 

ICYMI: The Industry Insights team provided analysis on the U.S. quarterly market performances of
Honda, Nissan and Toyota.


YEAR-TO-DATE FLEET SALES OUTPACE 2020

Fleet sales still drastically lag behind pre-pandemic levels, but 100,182 fleet units sold in October finally bumped the 2021 year-to-date total above the 2020 level. Combined large rental, commercial, and government purchases of new vehicles now stand at 1.39 million units, a 1% increase from this time in 2020 but a 42% decrease from the same time in 2019 when 2.4 million units were sold. Check out the Data Point for more details.
Looking ahead: In the days ahead, Cox Automotive will report October new-vehicle inventory and pricing (listing and average transaction prices) as well as CPO sales. Also, look for an update to the Dealertrack Credit Availability Index.
 
The Cox Automotive/Moody’s Analytics Vehicle Affordability Index will be updated as well. Plus, we will publish the Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch report on the electrified segment. On the used-vehicle front, the 13-month rolling used-vehicle SAAR and volume will be published as well as a fresh look at used-vehicle inventory and pricing.


As always, if you have questions or want to connect with the Cox Automotive PR team, feel free to contact us.
AUTO QUOTES

“By leveraging the available technology, dealers can improve customer satisfaction with the car-buying experience. Better yet, the same technology that can grow customer satisfaction can grow dealership profitability.”  
 
– Kevin Filan, vice president of marketing, Cox Automotive, in his Commentary & Voices article published today on digital retailing and Cox Automotive Digital Retailing solutions.
 
 

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