Cox Automotive Looks Through a Crystal Ball

Nothing like a bit of prediction. . .

By Gary S. Vasilash

Who doesn’t like predictions? Especially after the year we’ve all just been through.

So here are six from Kayla Reynolds, Industry Intelligence Analyst at Cox Automotive, regarding the vehicle market in the U.S.

  1. Things won’t return to “normal” in 2021, even with the vaccines rolling out. Seems that social distancing and mask-wearing are going to become the way of the life. Comment: Well, at least in some geographies and demographics. Depending on where you live, you might want to bring some Clorox wipes should you be taking a test drive anytime soon.
  2. The auto industry will emerge stronger from the pandemic. Reynolds said that dealers anticipate improved profits on lower volumes. Comment: Odds are you’re not going to be seeing as many giant inflatable animals in front of dealerships because there is evidently lots of demand.
  3. Inventory will remain tight through the year. New and used vehicles are both in shorter supply—by a lot. Comment: Unless it is really something no one wants, deals are going to be few and far in between. Better get ready to spend that stimulus check.
  4. This year will be a tipping point for digital retailing. Consumers discovered that they could spend lots of time on line in preparing to buy, which meant less time being in a showroom, which was a good thing with a raging pandemic. Comment: No, Amazon Prime isn’t going to deliver your new set of wheels this year.
  5. New competition will slow Tesla’s growth. Reynolds said, “We’ve said this before, but we mean it this time.” Comment: The fact that Tesla is the only company to get its own prediction says a lot about that brand. Yes, at some point Tesla sales are likely to suffer. Some point.
  6. Vehicle ownership increases as ride-sharing and ride-hailing decrease. This is predicated on the first prediction, a consequence of the pandemic. Comment: According to the TSA, there were 1,574,228 air travelers processed on March 28, 2021. On February 28, 2021, there were 1,190,682 passengers processed.  That is a 25% increase in a month.  How long until people are fine climbing into Lyfts and Ubers? Probably a lot sooner than the Cox prognosticators think.