Automobile

2022 auto industry forecast: Chance of pain

Last week, Toyota said it will cut global production 15 percent in November, but the impact will not be as painful as its cutbacks in September and October. And the automaker finally sees signs of recovery.

“I think we are over the worst period,” said global procurement manager Kazunari Kumakura.

Augusto Amorim, senior manager for Americas vehicle sales forecasts at LMC, said the company sees Toyota Motor North America retaining its current sales lead over GM through the fourth quarter and likely keeping it through 2022 as microchip shortages continue to play out.

“We expect 2022 to be a tie with GM in market leadership and expect GM to regain market leadership [in North America] in 2023,” Amorim predicted.

He said light-truck sales will continue to grow relative to cars. “There’s still a market for cars, especially for compact cars,” he said, but overall, car sales will not come back.

Amorim detailed other retail trends that may be concerning for dealers over the longer term. He said lease penetration in the U.S. is moving down, and in September, more new vehicles were financed than leased.

He said borrowers are also looking more favorably at noncaptive lenders that are offering competitive terms. “As OEMs keep cutting incentives, transaction prices continue to grow and, with them, monthly payments,” he wrote in an email to Automotive News . “All those 84-month loans with 0% APR that we saw when the pandemic first hit are mostly gone. There are still a few captive lenders offering 72-month loans (Ford still has a plan with 0% APR for 72 months for the F-150, for example), but they aren’t too common anymore. However, noncaptive lenders still offer these longer terms. Even if their APR is higher, consumers are paying less monthly, and that’s what most people look at.”

Both trends could impact automaker and dealer abilities to recapture customers by either pulling leases ahead or luring buyers with attractive captive offers, which in turn could weaken availability of late-model off-lease vehicles.

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