January New-Car Sales Impacted By Historic Blizzard, Down 3 Percent Year-Over-Year, According to Kelley Blue Book

Consumer Demand for Jeep Could Be Slowing; Compact Car Segment Will Be the One to Watch in 2016

Jan 28, 2016, 05:00 ET from Kelley Blue Book

IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- New-vehicle sales are expected to decrease 3 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.12 million units in January 2016, resulting in an estimated 17.1 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com, the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry.

"This month's new-car sales were impacted by the historic blizzard Jonas that covered much of the East Coast in snow late in January," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  "Since the blizzard hit densely populated areas during a weekend, when dealerships see the most foot traffic, Kelley Blue Book anticipates sales to dip slightly; however, any lost sales will likely be postponed until February.  January is typically the slowest month of the year for automotive sales, as consumers recover from the holiday season and pull forward many purchases into December to take advantage of available year-end deals."

After the highest U.S. sales record in 2015, Kelley Blue Book's forecast in the new year calls for sales in the range of 17.5 to 18 million, which could put the industry at a flat sales year or set another record.  However, there are downside risks that could disrupt the current momentum, including rising supply of good condition off-lease used cars, potential interest rate hikes and uncertainty in global stock markets.

Key Highlights for Estimated January 2016 Sales Forecast:

  • In January, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to hit 1,120,000 units, down 3 percent from January 2015 and down 32 percent from December 2015.
  • The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for January 2016 is estimated to be 17.1 million, up from 16.6 million in January 2015 and down from 17.2 million in December 2015.
  • Retail sales are expected to account for 81.5 percent of volume in January 2016, up from 81.2 percent in January 2015.

Consumer Demand for Jeep Could Be Slowing; American Honda Capturing Share with All-New Civic, Restyled Accord

Fiat Chrysler could lead major manufacturers in year-over-year growth at around 1 percent. 

"Low gas prices and growing consumer interest in utility vehicles helped Jeep grow nearly 25 percent last year, and 2016 should also be strong for the brand," said Fleming.  "However, incentive spending for the brand has been growing in addition to days to turn, indicating that consumer demand may be slowing to some degree."

American Honda also could capture market share this month and is expected to report 9 percent year-over-year strength.  Sales will be boosted primarily by the all-new Civic sedan, which is still growing in availability at dealerships, and a restyled Accord.


Sales Volume 1

Market Share 2

Manufacturer

Jan-16

Jan-15

YOY %

Jan-16

Jan-15

YOY %

General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC)

197,000

202,786

-2.9%

17.6%

17.6%

-0.1%

Ford Motor Company (Ford, Lincoln)

169,000

177,441

-4.8%

15.1%

15.4%

-0.4%

Toyota Motor Company (Lexus, Scion, Toyota)

163,000

169,194

-3.7%

14.6%

14.7%

-0.2%

Fiat Chrysler (Chrysler, Dodge, FIAT, Jeep, RAM)

146,000

145,007

0.7%

13.0%

12.6%

0.4%

American Honda (Acura, Honda)

101,000

102,184

-1.2%

9.0%

8.9%

0.1%

Nissan North America (Infiniti, Nissan)

100,000

104,107

-3.9%

8.9%

9.1%

-0.1%

Hyundai-Kia

80,000

82,804

-3.4%

7.1%

7.2%

-0.1%

Volkswagen Group (Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche)

37,000

38,982

-5.1%

3.3%

3.4%

-0.1%

Total 3

1,120,000

1,149,247

-2.5%

-

-

-

1 Historical data from OEM sales announcements



2 Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights



3 Includes brands not shown



Compact Car Segment Will Be the One to Watch in 2016

With gas prices at their lowest point since 2009, SUVs will continue to grow in popularity in 2016, especially in the compact SUV segment.  In fact, some automakers have multiple models in this segment, which are contributing to this growth.  Kelley Blue Book analysts expect the compact SUV segment to grow by double digits in January, kicking off a very strong year. 

"One segment to watch in 2016 will be compact cars.  Similar to mid-size cars, market share for these models has been declining for the past three years," said Fleming.  "While this trend could continue this year, three of the top four models in this segment (Honda Civic, Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra) will have redesigned models on the market in the first half of the year.  Much of the focus recently has been on the booming growth of small SUVs, but the new small cars on the way could spark consumer interest."


Sales Volume 1

Market Share

Segment

Jan-16

Jan-15

YOY %

Jan-16

Jan-15

YOY %

Compact SUV/Crossover

158,000

141,267

11.8%

14.1%

12.3%

1.8%

Compact Car

151,000

166,739

-9.4%

13.5%

14.5%

-1.0%

Mid-Size Car

143,000

155,862

-8.3%

12.8%

13.6%

-0.8%

Full-Size Pickup Truck

137,000

140,688

-2.6%

12.2%

12.2%

0.0%

Mid-Size SUV/Crossover

135,000

143,513

-5.9%

12.1%

12.5%

-0.4%

Total 2

1,120,000

1,149,247

-2.5%

-

-

-

1 Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights



2 Includes segments not shown


There are 24 sales days in January 2016, compared to 26 sales days in January 2015.  All percentages are based on raw volume, not daily selling rate. 

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About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)

Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry.  Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new and used cars this week.  The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies.  Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com ranked highest in its category for brand equity by the 2015 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study and has been named Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year for four consecutive years.  Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. is a Cox Automotive company.                               

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