Analyst Note| David Whiston, CFA, CPA, CFE |
According to Wards, December auto sales rose year over year by 6.4% but fell by 5.0% after adjusting for three extra selling days in December 2020. The seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate of 16.27 million lagged December 2019’s 16.81 million. With a COVID-19 vaccine rolling out in 2021, we think 2020’s full-year total of 14.46 million is the bottom of this cycle, and we expect robust year-over-year growth in 2021 against a soft comparable followed by more tepid growth in 2022. Light-truck models remain immensely popular, good news for the Detroit Three, and according to Wards, 2020 was the first year that crossovers and SUVs combined for over half (52%) of U.S. new light-vehicle sales.