The car industry is having its best year by one measure and a mediocre year by another. Car prices have been driven to record highs. Among the primary reasons 2021 being is a strong year based on price is the pent-up demand from the COVID-19 pandemic when dealers were closed.
Unfortunately, the other reason for high prices is a lack of supply. which has crippled unit sales volume. Car companies are struggling, along with dealers, because of an inventory shortage. This has been caused by a shortage of the chips used to operate the electronic systems in vehicles. Manufacturers have had to shutter plants and popular cars are not available at all. Cox Automotive estimates 14.3 million cars will be sold in the U.S. this year. A strong year’s total is 17 million.
&Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough commented:
“Available inventory on dealer lots has been falling for months, and sales have been constrained further and further as a result. And soon the market will enter the Labor Day holiday weekend, usually one of the highest sales periods of the entire year, but with half the supply they had last year.”
The standard industry term for determining car model demand at the dealer level is “average days to sell.” In August, across the industry for new cars, that period was 26 days. New cars are selling over a week faster than in July when the average was 35 days.
iSeeCars looked at the sales of over 900,000 new and used cars (model years 2016 to 2020 for used cars) from August 2021 to determine which cars, sport utility vehicles and light trucks are in the least demand based on the “average days to sell” measure.
The 20 slowest-selling new cars take at least 44 average days to sell. The slowest, the Acura TLX, sits at 96 days. One of the reasons may be that it is a sedan. Sedan sales have fallen off over the last decade as people have moved to ownership of SUVs, crossovers, and pickups. As a matter of fact, Ford has discontinued most of its sedan lineup because of poor demand.
The Acura TLX has an average price of just over $46,000. In general, it gets good grades from the car media. Car and Driver rates it 8 out of 10. Kelley Blue Book rates it 4.5 out of five.
Acura has not been a popular brand in general. It is part of the wave of Japanese manufacturers adding a luxury line-up to diversify from their more affordable models. Acura is the brand Honda introduced. It has not been as popular as the Toyota luxury brand Lexus. And, Acura has also lagged behind the German leaders Mercedes and BMW.
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