New light-vehicle sales posted declines again this month, with the October SAAR of 16.6 million representing a decrease of 5.3% compared to October 2018. Through the first 10 months 2019, sales are down by roughly 175,000 units compared to this point last year—a decline of 1.2%.
According to Wards Intelligence, October sales volumes were adversely affected by the UAW strike, which caused GM to shut down nearly all its North American assembly plants.
Pickups and crossovers gained market share at the expense of all other vehicle segments. Light trucks represented 71.6% of all new light-vehicle sales so far this year, though in certain parts of the country it was closer to 90%.
For the third time this year, the Federal Reserve reduced its benchmark interest rate by 0.25% (or 25 basis points) in October. While this interest rate cut is unlikely to translate to lower payments for all new-car buyers, it could mean a better deal for a few of them.
For the rest of the year, look for incentive spending to increase as dealers clear their lots of old inventory to make room for new models. We expect sales will close out the year with sales of 16.8 million units.