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Published on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 | Updated on Wednesday, May 12, 2021

U.S. Auto Sales Chartbook. May 2021

Auto sales rebounded 12.2% yoy in 1Q21, averaging 17 million units (SAAR). Meanwhile, April sales reached 18.5 million units (SAAR), the highest in 15 years.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • Two rounds of stimulus checks, low interest rates, home price appreciation, higher stock prices, access to credit, and robust trade-in values of used vehicles spurred consumers who delayed the purchase of new vehicles due to the pandemic
  • A shortage of computer chips caused by severe weather in Texas and a fire at Japan’s Renesas Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., disrupted the supply of new vehicles. Supply constrains are likely to remain through the summer
  • As a result, a portion of new-vehicle demand shifted to the used-vehicle market, exerting significant upward pressures on used-vehicle prices
  • Strong consumer demand and supply bottlenecks have benefited auto retailers that were able to compensate the shortage of new-vehicles with higher volumes of used-cars
  • We expect sales of new vehicles to average 17 million units (SAAR) in 2021 supported by fiscal and monetary stimulus, strong economic growth and pent up demand

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