While 2020 ended with an anticipated decline in vehicle sales amid the global pandemic, the auto finance industry proved resilient with record-high transaction prices and better-than-expected volumes.
The seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for total light vehicle sales is estimated at 14.6 million units, a decrease of 4.4% year over year, according to a TrueCar forecast.
Still, production and inventory continued to improve in the remaining weeks of 2020, reflecting the auto industry’s “comeback” since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Nick Woolard, director of OEM analytics at TrueCar.
“In the final days of 2020, we can finally look in the rearview mirror and appreciate the tremendous recovery that the automotive industry has made since the pandemic derailed auto sales in March,” Woolard noted.
December 2020 new-vehicle sales also logged a 6.5% seasonally adjusted decrease from the same period in 2019, with total new-vehicle sales projected to reach 1.6 million units.
The average transaction price is projected to set an industry record, increasing 5.3% YoY, or by $1,950, to $38,979, according to TrueCar. Prices are also expected to increase 2.6% from November 2020, in part due to customers gravitating to luxury brands, said Alain Nana-Sinkam, Truecar’s vice president of strategic initiatives.
BMW, for one, is expected to see a 9.4% YoY increase in sales to 41,727 units.
Meanwhile, used-vehicle sales are projected to increase 6% YoY to 3.1 million units for December 2020.