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Published on Friday, January 29, 2021

U.S. Auto Sales Chartbook. January 2021

New vehicle sales went up 5% in 4Q20 from the previous quarter to 16.2 million units. For 2020, sales declined 14.7% to 14.5 million units, the lowest since 2012. Resilient demand and tighter supply has significantly boosted prices in both the used and new-vehicle segments.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • Demand has been supported by fiscal stimulus, low interest rates, and increasing preferences for car ownership.
  • The pandemic disrupted production, tightening supply and allowing manufacturers to reduce incentives and increase profits.
  • Retail auto sales are expected to continue recovering. On the contrary, the commercial fleet segment will remain subdued until vaccination becomes more widespread and business and leisure travel resumes.
  • Higher prices and weaker commercial fleet sales may prevent new auto sales from returning to the 17 million units threshold in the near term.
  • Electric vehicles increased 11% in 3Q20. The outlook for EVs is positive as the Biden administration is expected to bet heavily on clean energy.

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