January Finishes Slow; Car Consideration Drops Further
COX AUTOMOTIVE – Auto sales activity likely slowed in the final days of January, notes Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke, as consumer sentiment waned and heavy winter weather ran through major markets in the Midwest and Northeast. That’s just one of the points made by Smoke in his latest, six-minute, weekly video update, which was posted last evening. And if you missed it, the team also posted their quick-read Weekly Auto Market Summary on Monday.
As our team sorts through January sales performance, one thing we do know is that car consideration continues to fall among U.S. retail shoppers. A key insight from the Q4 2020 Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch report, which will be posted in the Cox Automotive Newsroom on Thursday, is that SUV and pickup truck consideration continues to grow at the expense of car consideration. In fact, car consideration hit an all-time low in Q4. Check back tomorrow. The report will be out by 8:00 a.m.
Digital Retailing: A Good News Story
The annual NADA Show, which in typical times brings together U.S. auto dealers for a five-day frenzy of meetings, workshops, sales and gala social events, will kick off in a virtual format next week. And perhaps the digital format is fitting, as digital retailing activity accelerated in the auto business this past year and, surprise, consumers are more satisfied than ever. That’s a key takeaway from the Cox Automotive Digitization of End-to-End Retailing study, released last week. Isabelle Helms, vice president of Research & Market Intelligence, presented the findings on Monday, during the Cox Automotive Experience, our NADA Show 2021 preview event. Helms’ presentation was an online affair, of course; you can read her blog and watch a replay of her presentation on the Cox Automotive Newsroom.
More Good News: Q4 2020
The more our team looks back at Q4 2020, the better we feel about the overall state of the auto business. According to our analysis, auto sales in the U.S. were relatively strong and incentives were kept in check. That’s good for the financial reports from the major automakers, many of which are being released in the coming weeks. Ford Motor Company goes first, releasing Q4 2020 results later today. To add color and context to the story, our team took a look at sales, incentives, and average transaction prices for Ford and Lincoln vehicles in the important U.S. market. You can review those numbers here, and check back to the Newsroom for additional numbers, as GM, Toyota, Honda, and others release their quarterly reports.