The first quarter has come and gone, and lenders and dealers alike are still seeing red flags in retail auto, and subsequently, the auto finance market. According to J.D. Power:
We have the wrong supply for current demand.
Vehicle production is not aligned with consumer demand. Manufacturers produced more sedans when buyers were in the market for crossover utility vehicles (CUVs). Because of this, half of all auto brands, and six out of 10 vehicle models lost sales volume in Q1.
Overall supply is much greater than demand.
Dealer inventory closed out Q1 at 4.1 million units, representing an increase of approximately 300,000 units from Q1 of 2016, and a half-million unit increase from 2015. What causes concern here is that analysts depict today’s consumer demand as identical to that of 2015, meaning supply is much greater than demand.
Incentive programs aren’t aligned with demand.
Industry-wide, the average manufacturer incentive for Q1 was $3,900. This comes after closing out 2016 with incentives as high as $4,000 per vehicle. Comparatively, these incentives are even higher than those in 2008/2009, when dealers needed anything possible to close just one sale.
In the midst of all this, loan terms continue to get longer.
Loans terms continue to lengthen, with 72 month terms accounting for 33.9 percent of new-vehicle sales. As you well know, this doesn’t bode well for defaults and delinquencies down the line. Continue reading