BANDON, Ore. — CNW Research reported this week that it expects October sales to improve substantially from a year ago despite several indices showing weakening consumer confidence. The firm, however, said the measurements don’t go hand-in-hand.
CNW’s Art Spinella wrote in his firm’s monthly newsletter that national confident measurements cannot be used to determine sales of big-ticket items. That’s why his firm is predicting a healthy increase in October sales from a year ago.
“In reality, concerns about the economy may impact everyone surveyed because of rising prices or job stability, but the actual key market — those capable, willing and able to make a vehicle purchase — is likely to have a totally different view of their economic well-being,” Spinella noted. “A new or larger monthly payment isn’t as much of a concern.
“That said, October sales again look like they’ll improve substantially over last year, even though many consumer indices have weakened.”
New-vehicle sales through the first half of the month were on pace for an 8% increase, but Spinella said sales will probably end the month with a 6% year-over-year increase. But because the month ends on a Friday, he said dealers will likely include weekend sales in their reports to manufacturers, which would skew the results.
CNW’s own consumer confidence index, or what the firm refers to as the Jitters Index, is once again showing improvement, improving by 2% from September and 8.6% from a year ago. “That turned into a whopping 19% increase in Floor Traffic, and an impressive 11.4% gain in closing ratios,” Spinella noted.
Same-store sales through the first half of the month were up 4.4% from a year ago, which Spinella said was an indication that many dealerships have completed renovations, remodels and location moves in time for the fall season.
The firm also reported that shares of vehicles sold at retail topped 60%, returning to an historic trend line. Additionally, subprime contracts were up 18.6% from a year ago and up a slight 0.35% from September.
“The strong floor traffic number,” Spinella added, indicates a jump on 2015 sales since usually shoppers don’t enter a dealership until two or three months prior to making an actual purchase.”