Analysts forecast a SAAR of 14.25M in March as inventory levels continue to slowly improve
The car shopping experts from Edmunds forecast that 3,502,324 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2023, which will be a 5.2% increase from the first quarter of 2022 but a 1.8% decrease compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.
“The auto industry’s wild rollercoaster ride the past few years has finally begun the transition to a smoother, more predictable one as inventory continued to improve in the first quarter,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. “Although the market is nowhere close to the bargain-heavy landscape that consumers came to expect prior to the pandemic, car shoppers should be happy to see that some incentives are cropping up after more than a yearlong drought as inventory levels continue to rise.”
As inventory levels improved, Edmunds data reveals that new vehicles sat longer on dealer lots in Q1: the average days to turn (DTT)1 for new vehicles climbed to 34 days in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 24 days in the first quarter of 2022. The average trade-in age of vehicles toward new car purchases also slightly increased, climbing to 5.9 years in Q1 2023 compared to 5.3 years in Q1 2022 and 6.4 years for Q1 2015 to 2019.
“Consumers planning on making a car purchase will still need to do their research and prepare to make a move if they find a vehicle that they like, but they can at least take a breath and not feel as pressured to jump at every piece of inventory the minute it hits the market,” said Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ director of insights. “For current car owners who have been waiting for the market to cool before getting into a new vehicle, now is the time to begin paying close attention to trade-in values, which are continuing to soften as new car inventory grows. If you time things just right, you might be able to maximize your trade-in value and score a new car with a bit of a discount.”
For an accurate picture of a vehicle’s current value, consumers can shop around for appraisals on sites like Edmunds and track the historical value of their vehicle with this tool on Edmunds.
Looking forward, Edmunds analysts note that 2023 appears to offer a gradual return to normalcy for the auto industry, but caution that unfavorable finance conditions could become a major roadblock.
“Consumers are facing credit uncertainty as rapidly rising interest rates have created barriers to entry for even the most qualified buyers,” said Caldwell. “As more consumers sit out of the market, we can expect to see pent-up demand grow even further.”
|SALES VOLUME FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER|
|SALES VOLUME||2023 Q1 Forecast||2022 Q1 Sales||2022 Q4 Sales||Change from 2022 Q1||Change from 2022 Q4|
|GM||602,813||519,924||623,503||15.9 %||-3.3 %|
|Ford||468,962||432,133||483,970||8.5 %||-3.1 %|
|Toyota||464,075||516,373||536,782||-10.1 %||-13.5 %|
|Hyundai/Kia||378,000||323,220||390,302||16.9 %||-3.2 %|
|Stellantis||368,222||409,844||349,284||-10.2 %||5.4 %|
|Honda||277,763||266,419||255,251||4.3 %||8.8 %|
|Nissan||227,395||201,081||191,012||13.1 %||19.0 %|
|VW/Audi||118,221||101,537||120,101||16.4 %||-1.6 %|
|Industry||3,502,324||3,328,817||3,566,892||5.2 %||-1.8 %|
|MARKET SHARE FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER|
|Market Share||2023 Q1 Forecast||2022 Q1 Sales||2022 Q4 Sales||Change from 2022 Q1||Change from 2022 Q4|
|GM||17.2 %||15.6 %||17.5 %||10.2 %||-1.5 %|
|Ford||13.4 %||13.0 %||13.6 %||3.1 %||-1.3 %|
|Toyota||13.3 %||15.5 %||15.0 %||-14.6 %||-12.0 %|
|Hyundai/Kia||10.8 %||9.7 %||10.9 %||11.2 %||-1.4 %|
|Stellantis||10.5 %||12.3 %||9.8 %||-14.6 %||7.4 %|
|Honda||7.9 %||8.0 %||7.2 %||-0.9 %||10.8 %|
|Nissan||6.5 %||6.0 %||5.4 %||7.5 %||21.2 %|
|VW/Audi||3.4 %||3.1 %||3.4 %||10.7 %||0.2 %|