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Mid-week Auto News Summary


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.
With autumn officially here, the auto industry is wrapping up the third quarter and looking ahead to the end of the year. Earlier today, Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke and the Economic and Industry Insights team shared their latest data and insights on affordability, demand, inventory and sales, updated the 2023 sales forecasts, and addressed the UAW strike. If you missed the call, you can listen to the recording and download the presentation.

The U.S. auto industry is expected to finish the third quarter with another strong year-over-year sales gain, according to a forecast released today from Cox Automotive. Despite challenges like rising interest rates on new-vehicle loans and a strike by the United Auto Workers against the major domestic automakers, sales volumes are expected to reach almost 1.3 million in September, an increase of more than 13% from the previous year.
“In the auto industry right now, interest rates are public enemy No. 1 – the leading factor holding back business,” Smoke said. Commentary on last week’s Fed action provides insights into how high interest rates are affecting vehicle affordability and hindering a more vigorous retail sales recovery.

In case you missed it, check out the recent article by Brian Finkelmeyer, senior director of New Car Solutions at Cox Automotive, on the resilience of the new-vehicle market: The New-Vehicle Market Continues to Defy Gravity.
This month’s
midmonth Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index (MUVVI) video highlights wholesale inventory, sales conversion, used retail inventory volume, days’ supply, and prices and addresses the potential UAW strike impact on the used-vehicle market.

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.


The Cox Automotive Q3 Industry Insights and Sales Forecast call was hosted earlier today, Sept. 26. During this webinar, our experts and analysts reviewed how the auto industry performed in the third quarter and how the Cox Automotive team sees the industry progressing for the remainder of the year. Download the event presentation and check out the 2023 forecast updates.



The U.S. auto industry’s robust year-over-year sales recovery continued in the third quarter, according to a forecast released today from Cox Automotive. Despite rising interest rates on new-vehicle loans and a strike by the United Auto Workers against the major domestic automakers, sales volumes in September are forecast to reach nearly 1.3 million, an increase of more than 13% from 2022. Sales in Q3 are expected to surpass 3.9 million, a jump of more than 15% from the same time frame one year ago.
“As the first three quarters of 2023 come to a close, ‘pleasantly surprised’ may be the sentiment of many auto analysts,” noted Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough. “The market has faced high interest rates, real affordability issues, and ongoing inflation, which could have led to large declines in vehicle sales. However, pent-up demand has been fueling the vehicle market this year. Consumers, and even more so large fleets, have become buyers as inventory improves. Year-over-year sales gains have been surprising indeed.”

Read the press release for details on how specific automakers are expected to perform.


The Federal Reserve maintained its current rates even though there’s ample data suggesting that inflation is still present and higher than the Fed’s desired level. The Fed’s current rates are viewed as restrictive, and out-of-reach auto loans are probably hindering a more vigorous retail sales recovery. The typical interest rate on new auto loans is still above 9%, while used car loans are over 13%. Although there have been recent improvements in new-vehicle affordability, it remains the industry’s most significant obstacle, and the UAW strike is not helping the situation.
Read the article published last week for more of Smoke’s thoughts on the Fed’s latest action.


In case you missed it with everything else going on, our Senior Director of New Car Solutions Brian Finkelmeyer recently shared his thoughts on one of his favorite topics – the new-vehicle market. He noted: “It’s commonly believed that what goes up must eventually come down; you can only defy gravity for so long. The continued strength of the new-vehicle market in 2023 is calling this widely held belief into question.” 
Read more from Finkelmeyer about the five forces that are helping the new-car market defy gravity.


Wholesale used-vehicle prices (on a mix-, mileage-, and seasonally adjusted basis) increased by 1.5% in the first 15 days of September compared to August. Assisted by the seasonal adjustment, the midmonth Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index rose to 215.4, which was down 3.5% from the full month of September 2022. 

“It is likely that some of the buying was spurred by concerns about potential UAW action; but thinking back to our supply figures, it’s possible that dealers were stocking up after their lots thinned out a bit anyway,” noted Chris Frey, senior manager of Economic and Industry Insights at Cox Automotive.

Watch the Manheim Market Insights video for highlights on the midmonth MUVVI, wholesale inventory, sales conversion, used retail inventory and prices, and the potential UAW strike impact on the used-vehicle market. Register to attend the Q3 Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index call on Friday, Oct. 6, for a deep dive into the whole and used-vehicle markets.

Looking ahead: Later this week, we will publish an update on how the UAW strike expansion is impacting the auto industry.
Check back in the Newsroom for sales commentary after the automakers report their results starting Tuesday, Oct. 3. We will also provide updates to vAuto data for both new and used vehicle supplies. The September Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index will be published on Friday, Oct. 6.

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

“Our hope is that we find a positive resolution to the strike, and we see rates finally peak. If so, we can look forward to progress resuming on affordability as long as the economy remains resilient.”
Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Cox Automotive, speaking during the Q3 2023 Cox Automotive Industry Insights and Forecast Call.

The Cox Automotive Leader in Sustainability Award recognizes a dealership for leadership in promoting green business practices and making a difference through community service. The winner receives $10,000 to fund a sustainability project and an energy audit from the Cox Conserves team. Learn about the Leader in Sustainability Award and submit a nomination.