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September’s New Car Sales Among the Worst in a Decade

Not many new cars are leaving dealer lots — but it’s not because consumers have stopped shopping. It’s because dealers don’t have many new vehicles to sell.

Cox Automotive estimates that about 1 million cars will have been sold by the end of September 2021, a slide of 26% compared to the same month in 2020 when the economy was in far worse shape. Sales will also be down about 8.5% compared to August.

The ongoing computer chip shortage means that automakers can’t build enough cars to satiate the pent-up demand spilling over from last year.

The situation is so dire that Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough estimates dealerships have around 1.4 million fewer new cars in inventory currently than they did at this same time last year.

The average sale price a consumer negotiates continues to hit record high levels. Some unusually in-demand SUVs, pickups, and even minivans are often sold before they even arrive in a dealer’s inventory.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. Cox Automotive’s research suggests that although many consumers plan to exit the market until the inventory situation is in their favor, they’re not abandoning the idea of buying a new car entirely. See new car models for sale

Andrew Ganz
Andrew Ganz is an author specializing in helping in-market consumers get the most bang for their buck -- and the best car, while they're at it. When not virtually shopping for new and used cars, Andrew can probably be found under the hood of a vintage classic that's rapidly losing fluids.

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