12/3/2010 9:18 AM
My colleague Tracy and I were talking about the November sales results this morning and what the figures are telling us about the market. Not to be greedy, but we really want to be seeing at least a million units a month. November was short by quite a bit – only 873,323 cars and light trucks. Part of that can be blamed on the holiday interruption, but demand has been coming up short on our 12-million unit year for a while. The overall year-over-year increase of 16.9% was respectable but not stellar. Last November we were still in a Cash-for-Clunker-induced lag period, so it’s not like the bar was set especially high for comparables. The market isn’t performing quite where we would like it to be. From Tracy’s perspective, though, car sales are like losing weight. (Why the heck is she bringing up weight loss now, right at the start of the holidays?)…
…By that analogy, she means that we need to have patience in looking for improvement. Consumer confidence is getting better, as well as many of the other economic indicators that we track. The US is in a slow process of building back up to good vehicle-sale health, and the expectation should not be for dramatic change, but gradual, solid improvement. In your weight loss program, getting the basics right (portion control and exercise) is better for long-term benefit. That is the way we envision the car market to improve as we go forward… but a million a month would be a fine and reasonable pace. Here’s hoping that a lot of Christmas lists include a new car. And make it a Toyota! The only automaker to have lower sales in November 2010 than November 2009 (down 3.3%), the company’s black eye has not yet healed. Maybe there are good deals to be had…
to "Patience Required for Car Sale Improvement"