U.S. light-vehicle sales in November of about 1 million cars and trucks are down less than 1% vs. the same month a year ago, according to the measure J.D. Power considers most important –the daily selling rate for retail auto sales to individual customers.
Including fleet sales to businesses, government and daily rental companies, November sales of about 1.2 million are down 3.5%, also by daily selling rate, according to a Nov. 25 forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. Fleet sales are way down because air travel is likewise down, due to the coronavirus.
Overall, the J.D. Power-LMC forecast doesn’t sound bad, considering how low monthly auto sales were earlier this year – at the low point, sales in absolute terms were down 46.1% in April, according to Wards Intelligence – but those J.D. Power percent-change numbers come with a statistical asterisk, and this month it’s a big one.
J.D. Power quotes percent changes by the daily selling rate because the number of officially recognized selling days in a month varies, typically by one or at most two days. But November 2020 has only 23 selling days, three fewer than November 2019. November 2020 also has one fewer weekend than last year.
Using the absolute numbers expected to be sold in November 2020 vs. November 2019, total sales including fleets are down 14.6% from a year ago. Retail sales are down 12.2%, according to the forecast, which is based on the first 17 selling days of the month.
Separately, TrueCar subsidiary ALG on Nov. 24 forecasts slightly higher numbers for November. On a daily sales rate basis, ALG predicts a year-over-year increase in November retail sales of 2.9%, to 1.1 million. ALG’s forecast for total sales including fleet rounds to 1.2 million.