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Mid-Week Auto News Now


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.
After two quarters of sentiment from both franchised and independent dealers tracking in the same positive direction, independents were less enthusiastic this quarter, according to the Q3 Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index released on Friday.
“Franchised dealer optimism is on the rise, whereas independents are less hopeful due to affordability issues that more acutely affect the used-vehicle market and their businesses,” said Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke.
As noted in todayAuto Market Report video, consumer spending has kept the economy growing. However, it remains to be seen if this trend will continue into the fall.
Ahead of tomorrow’s consumer price index (CPI) release, the most widely used measure of inflation, we published data on new-vehicle pricing from Kelley Blue Book. The average price Americans paid for a new vehicle in August 2023 was virtually flat year over year at $48,451, as higher inventory levels and increased incentives held year-over-year price gains in check.
The supply of new vehicles in the U.S. has increased by 68% from last year, reaching over 2 million units, ahead of a potential UAW strike that could start at midnight EDT on Sept. 14. Meanwhile, used-vehicle inventory volume slightly decreased in August to 2.25 million, while days’ supply dropped from 48 to 44 month over month due to stronger-than-expected sales.
Two Weeks To Go: Join us for the 
Q3 Cox Automotive Industry Insights and Sales Forecast call on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 11 a.m. EDT.

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


Overall, dealer sentiment in the U.S. held mostly steady in Q3 2023 compared to Q2, as high interest rates and economic concerns weigh heavily on the U.S. auto market, according to the Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index (CADSI).
The Q3 current market index was 45, still below the threshold of 50, indicating that more dealers see the current auto market as weak than see the market as strong. The three-month market outlook index declined in Q3, indicating more dealers think the market will be weak, not strong, in the months ahead. As with the current market index, franchised dealers were more optimistic about the outlook than were independent dealers. 

s worth noting that electric vehicle (EV) sales are seen as worse for both franchised and independent dealers compared to last year, with an EV sales score of 49. However, this change is not statistically significant. When asked about their expectations for EV sales in the next three months, dealers’ views were declining, with an index score of 47. This marks the lowest point for both franchised and independent dealers since Q2 2021, when the EV sales expectation question was added.
Read the press release to learn more about what dealers are thinking and what factors are holding back their business.


In today’s Auto Market Report video, Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke reports that according to vAuto data, new-vehicle retail sales reached their highest levels since mid-2021 last week. The used market is also experiencing similar momentum as used retail sales hit their peak for the year. However, there is concern about whether this trend can continue due to the pending UAW strike potentially altering new-vehicle availability and pricing. Smoke’s take: Momentum is likely to fade in the second half of the month as there are too many factors working against sentiment and affordability this month.
The Dealertrack Credit Availability Index published yesterday showed that access to auto credit improved again in August. The summer has witnessed a steady increase in credit access for most channels and lender types, excluding the new channel which decreased. However, credit access is still more restrictive than it was a year ago and, in many channels, it is tighter than before the pandemic.

Read the Auto Market Weekly Summary and watch the Auto Market Report video for more data and insights from Smoke on new and used retail sales and inventory, auto financing and Cox Automotive leading indicators.


The average price Americans paid for a new vehicle in August 2023 was virtually flat year over year due to higher inventory levels and increased incentives. Kelley Blue Book reports that the average transaction price (ATP) of a new vehicle in August was $48,451, up only $42 from one year ago. Prices increased slightly by 0.6% ($286) compared to July’s revised ATP of $48,165. Since the start of the year, transaction prices are down 2.4%, or $1,212, the largest decrease in the past decade. In August, manufacturers’ incentives averaged $2,365, reaching the highest point in a year. This increase brought incentives to 4.9% of ATP, which is still historically low.

Electric vehicle (EV) prices continue to fall, with Tesla leading the way. In August, the average price paid for an EV was $53,376, lower than the previous month and significantly less than a year ago when an EV cost more than $65,000. Incentives for EVs in August were 8.1% of the average transaction price, or $4,298. 
Read the Data Point for pricing and incentive details on non-luxury, luxury and electric vehicles.


The supply of new vehicles in the United States has grown, particularly for domestic brands, ahead of a potential strike by the UAW. The union’s contract with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis expires on Sept. 14.
Over 2 million unsold new vehicles were available in the U.S. throughout August, which is the highest level seen since April 2021. At the beginning of September, the inventory stood at 2.06 million units, up from the revised 1.96 million at the beginning of August. According to Cox Automotive’s analysis of vAuto Available Inventory data, this represents a 68% increase from last year, or approximately 837,000 units. The inventory numbers include both vehicles on dealer lots and those in transit.
At the start of September, new vehicles had 58 days’ supply, which is about the same level as for most of the year but up 46% from a year ago. Historically, 60 days’ supply across the industry was considered normal and ideal.

Check out the Data Point for a look at how the Detroit Three stack up ahead of a potential strike and which brands have the lowest supply.


In August, sales of used vehicles were strong for this time of year, resulting in less available inventory, according to an analysis by Cox Automotive of vAuto Available Inventory data. At the beginning of September, there were 2.25 million unsold used vehicles on dealer lots in the U.S. This is a decrease of less than 7,500 units from the end of July but a 9% decrease, or 233,636 fewer units, compared to the same time last year. The days’ supply at the beginning of September was 44, compared to 48 at the beginning of August. This is a 15% decrease from the year-ago level. Since April, the days’ supply has remained in the mid- to high 40s.
“Used-vehicle inventory had been increasing after hitting a low point in March,” said
 Chris Frey, senior manager of Economic and Industry Insights at Cox Automotive. “But that increase in inventory stalled in the middle of July and into August, as sales unexpectedly picked up.”
Read the Data Point to learn which automakers had the lowest inventory and how the average used-vehicle retail listing price fared in August.


Wholesale used-vehicle prices (on a mix, mileage, and seasonally adjusted basis) increased 0.2% in August from July. The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index (MUVVI) rose to 212.2, down 7.7% from a year ago.
The seasonal adjustment minimized August’s increase. The non-adjusted price change in August increased by 0.9% compared to July, moving the unadjusted average price down 7.5% year over year.

Check the Data Point for updates on Manheim Market Report values and major market segments,
 and register to attend the Q3 Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index call on Friday, Oct. 6.


The Q3 Cox Automotive Industry Insights and Sales Forecast call will be hosted Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 11 a.m. EDT, shortly before the auto industry closes the book on the third quarter.
In the upcoming webinar, Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke and the Economic and Industry Insights team will share valuable data and insights regarding the performance of the consumer, industry and economy. Additionally, the team will review our forecasts and provide an outlook for the year-end.

If you can’t make the live webinar, be sure to register anyway, and we’ll send you the recording after the event.

Looking ahead: Check back for commentary from Cox Automotive Senior Director of New-Vehicle Solutions Brian Finkelmeyer as he takes a look at how new-vehicle sales and prices are continuing to defy gravity. Plus, we will publish the August Cox Automotive/Moody’s Analytics Vehicle Affordability Index on Friday, Sept. 15.
Next week, the midmonth Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index will be published on Tuesday, Sept. 19. Jonathan Smoke will share his thoughts on the latest Fed rate decision on Sept. 20. We will publish the
 Manheim Market Insights video from Jeremy Robb, senior director of Economic and Industry Insights, by the end of the week.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or want to connect with the Cox Automotive Corporate Communications team.