Analyst Note| David Whiston, CFA, CPA, CFE |
Most automakers, except Ford who reports on Jan. 5, reported fourth-quarter or December U.S. auto sales on Jan. 4. According to Wards, December light vehicle sales fell year over year by 25.6% and by 22.9% after adjusting for one less selling day in December 2021. The seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate of 12.44 million was far below December 2020’s 16.31 million due to 2021’s chip shortage continuing to cause woefully inadequate inventory. Wards put full-year 2021 sales at 14.93 million, up 3.1% from 2020 but still far from 17.1 million in 2019. Barring no mass pandemic shutdowns in 2022, we expect that this year sees at least about 5% growth from 2021, but the chip shortage will likely not be completely resolved until 2023. We expect gradual improvement throughout 2022, especially in the second half. We believe industry demand remains high.