(17 June 2021) With the US vaccination progress continuing and many anti-COVID restrictions easing, American's driving activity is recovering, and the increased mobility combined with stimulus checks, pent-up demand, and high credit availability have quickly translated into an increase in car sales. Many Americans wanting to buy a car are stumbled on car shortages at auto dealerships, though. This growing demand and lack of supply have already translated into sharp price growth in the used car and car rental markets. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, the price growth for used cars accounted for about one-third of the overall increase in CPI in May. 

  • In March 2021, new light vehicle sales in the US increased to 18 million units (SAAR) — the highest monthly sales level since June 2005.
  • US car manufacturers not only failed to increase production, but in many cases had to pause assembly lines due to the semiconductor shortage. Car imports from Canada and Mexico — two largest sources of US car imports — also declined.
  • The mismatch between demand and supply brought domestic car inventories and inventory-to-sales ratio to a record low in April 2021.
  • The shift of consumer demand to used cars and rental cars led to price hikes. The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, which measures wholesale pricing and typically runs several months ahead of the behavior of the consumer price index for used cars, suggests that the price of used cars will likely grow further in the coming months.

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The Automotive Data Brief reviews the most recent data to present an overall picture of the automotive sector. You can find information relating to vehicle production and sales as well as statistics about fuel prices, vehicle stocks, and the electric-vehicle market.

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