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USA July 2021: Parts shortage slows recovery (+5%), Toyota smiles, Ford cries

Toyota Camry sales are up 44.6% year-on-year in July.

The U.S. new light vehicle market is estimated to gain just 5% year-on-year in July to 1.237 million units according to Morgan Stanley, leading to a year-to-date volume up 25.3% to 9.594 million. This marks a clear slowing down of the pace of recovery so far this year, as the microchip crisis triggers the idling of plants and record low inventories across the industry. This negative effect isn’t expected to end until well into Fall this year and possibly continuing until the end of the year. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Rate of sales (SAAR) is down to 14.8 million vs. an average of 17 million over the First Half of the year. It is the lowest SAAR since July 2020 (14.53 million). J.D. Power estimates the available supply at the end of July stands at 932.000 vehicles, down 70% on the 3.1 million of June 2019 pre-pandemic levels. The average number of days a new vehicle sits in a dealer lot before being purchased is 31, down from 75 days in July 2020. According to Cox Automotive, the car brands with lowest supply are Kia and Toyota both with 15 days worth of vehicles as of end July.

Low supply and a solid demand mean manufacturers are less inclined to offer incentives to close a deal. According to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, average incentive per unit is down a damning -51% year-on-year to $2.065 while TrueCar estimates incentives down -37% to $2.529. According to TrueCar, Ford (-45%), Daimler (-42%), Stellantis (-41%), General Motors (-40%) and Kia (-39%) have lowered their incentives the most year-on-year while the VW Group (-25%), Honda (-25%), Subaru (-28%) and Hyundai (-30%) are less aggressive. Lower incentives and tight supply mean the average transaction price is climbing to record heights this month at $41.044, up a whopping 17% year-on-year according to J.D. Power.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz has landed in the U.S. charts.

Among manufacturers still reporting monthly sales, Toyota Motor (+32.8%) shoots up and easily dominates with over 225.000 units, car sales are up 42% and light trucks up 29%. Available inventory stands at 140.939 vehicles at end July, down -13% on the end of June and off -47% from July 2020. Hyundai-Kia (+29.1%) also manages a splendid uptick with just under 144.000 units sold this month. Honda Motor (+8%) is more measured but still solid, with car sales up 0.8% and light trucks setting a new July record at 83.727. By far the most affected by the microchip crisis is Ford Motor (-32%) falling below Hyundai-Kia and Honda Motor. Light truck sales are off -27% while cars implode -75%. Ford’s new vehicle inventory stands at 160.000 at end July, down -67% on July 2020 (490.000).

Brand-wise, Toyota stands out with sales up 32.7% to just under 194.000, eclipsing Honda (+7.4%) and Ford (-31.1%). Kia (+33.6%) breaks its July record at 70.099 while Hyundai (+18.8%) is also dynamic. Hyundai’s inventory is shrinking very fast at 46.113 vehicles at end July, down -32% from the end of June and -65% vs. July 2020. Subaru (-2.6%) and Lincoln (-50.9%) are the other manufacturers in negative due to the microchip crisis tightening supply. Genesis (+312.1%) delivers a whopping score thanks to its two new SUVs and crosses the 5.000 monthly units milestone for the first time, with Mazda (+35.9%) the second most impressive brand in the US this month. Lexus (+33%) is also very solid as are Volvo (+19.4%) and Acura (+13.6%).

Looking at the models with available July sales data, the Ford F-Series (-26.2%) skids down due to supply constraints and production idling, whereas the next seven models all post double-digit gains. The Toyota RAV4 (+13.3%) follows ahead of the Toyota Camry (+44.6%), Honda CR-V (+54%), Civic (+12.4%), Toyota Corolla (+45.5%) and Highlander (+36.1%). Other notable gainers include, in sales order, the Honda HR-V (+64.6%), Subaru Crosstrek (+50.4%), Kia Forte (+67.7%), Hyundai Sonata (+56%), Kia K5 (+628.2%), Kia Telluride (+79.6%), Volvo XC60 (+70.8%), Kia Carnival (+265.1%), Lexus IS (+215.5%), Hyundai Venue (+64.4%) and Kia Niro (+102.6%). The Toyota Venza is the most successful recent launch (<12 months) above the Ford Bronco, Ford Mustang Mach E and Ford Bronco Sport. This month we welcome the Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup in the U.S. charts.

Previous month: USA June 2021: Toyota above GM, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram Pickup outsell Ford F-Series in market up 17%

One year ago: USA July 2020: Recovery (-16%) complicated by record infections, high unemployment, low inventories

Full July 2021 data for selected groups, brands and models below.

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