Dealers association: Auto sales grow despite vehicle inventory shortages

DENVER — Were it not for supply-chain bottlenecks that resulted in inventory shortages, Colorado car dealers would be having a banner year, according to information from the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, which released first-half sales results late last week.

Despite the headwinds, dealers still increased sales 20.6% over the first half of pandemic-infected 2020. First-half results were down from the first half of 2019.

Light-truck sales lead the vehicle categories in the report. Light trucks include sport utility vehicles, pickups and vans; they made up 86.2% of the total vehicle market in the state in the first half, the auto dealers association said. Light trucks netted 106,505 registrations versus 85,210 last year, for a 25% increase. 

The alternative powertrain market also increased share during the first half of the year compared with 2020. Hybrid vehicles sold increased to 6.6% of total market. Battery electric vehicle sales were up to 4.1% of total market, and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales were up to 1.5% of total market. Electric-vehicle categories have increased by more than 50%, compared to the same period last year, the report said.

“In Colorado, we’re predicting a 9.3% increase for the new vehicle market for all of 2021 and that is based on the following assumptions: On the positive side, several factors have been considered such as the affordability of new vehicle purchases due to historically low interest rates, rising wages, accumulated savings during the pandemic, record high household net worth, demand for new products coming into the market, and pent-up demand from postponed purchases due to the pandemic,” said Tim Jackson, president of the dealers association.

“Meanwhile, we foresee potential detours ahead that could slow this recovery. Those factors include a continuing shortage of microchips, supply bottlenecks and inventory shortages in the manufacturing and sales processes. That, coupled with a still uncertain future for the abatement of COVID and its economic impact on all consumers, could prevent the market from approaching record vehicle sales in 2021.”

Other report highlights:

  • Market share for the top five selling brands in Colorado include Toyota leading with a 14.7% market share, followed by Ford (11%), Subaru (10.1%), Chevrolet (7.5%) and Honda and Jeep tied at (6.3%).
  • Sales performance by domestic, European and Asian brands were led by Genesis +147.9% (Asian) followed by Tesla +96.8% (domestic) and Volvo +57.6% (European).
  • Market share for the top five selling models in the state are the RAM pickup (4.7%), Ford F-Series (4.6%), Toyota RAV4 (3.2%) and the Toyota Tacoma and 4Runner at 2.9%.
  • Used vehicle sales were up by 24.1% during the first six months of this year. This is slightly higher than the increase in the new vehicle market.