Analyst Note| David Whiston, CFA, CPA, CFE |
Many automakers reported third-quarter U.S. auto sales on Oct. 1. An exact sales tally won’t be known until later because Ford does not report the same day as the rest of the industry. The September seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate, or SAAR, per Wards was 16.34 million, which is below September 2019’s 17.08 million but is far better than the April coronavirus induced low of 8.73 million. GM estimates a quarterly SAAR of 15.9 million, up about 4 million units from second quarter’s level. The company also cited its sales recovering sequentially across each month for the quarter, which we think is from coronavirus recovery and the Labor Day sales boost counting for August sales in 2019 but for September this year. Provided no more COVID-19 mass shutdowns, we expect fourth-quarter sales improvement versus third-quarter. Unemployment remains high but lack of inventory is also a problem.