New vehicles priced between $30,000 to $40,000 are in the shortest supply while those priced below $30,000 have the highest inventory, according to a Cox Automotive analysis of list prices based on vAuto Available Inventory data.
The days’ supply of unsold new vehicles in that mid-price category was down to 55 during the last week of July 2020. The $40,000 to $50,000 price category had the next lowest inventory at 61 days’ supply. For comparison, the supply of all unsold new vehicles nationally stood at 68 days’ supply. The average listing price for all vehicles last week was just shy of $38,000, according to Cox Automotive.
In contrast, new-vehicle inventory priced below $20,000 had a 96 days’ supply. New vehicles in the $20,000 to $30,000 price range is next at 76 days’ supply.
The mid-range price categories consist mostly of compact cars and compact SUVs as well as midsize cars and midsize SUVs.
“Since vehicle sales hit rock bottom in April, the below-$30,000 segment has been slowest to recover,” said Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough. “It may seem counter intuitive that the cheapest vehicles would not be more in demand, given buyers generally seek lower prices during recessions. But those buyers likely are bearing the brunt of the downturn and may be turning away from new vehicles to used.”
Cox Automotive’s data shows used-vehicle sales are running only 5% behind a year ago while new-vehicle sales were down about 26%. In some weeks, used-vehicle sales have actually been higher than they were a year ago. Chesbrough said it is possible the below-$30,000 products will do better as the recession drags on.
Compact cars is down to 58 days’ supply. Compact SUVs, which saw sales down less in the second quarter than the overall market, is next lowest with a 63 days’ supply. Inventory of midsize cars is bloated at 77 days’ supply. In contrast, midsize utility inventory is light at 54 days’ supply.