July 19, 2024

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Modest Growth in U.S. Auto Sales for Q2 2024: Winners and Losers

2 min read

Despite a cyberattack that crippled dealers, a shifting economy, and changing consumer preferences, the U.S. auto industry experienced modest sales growth in the second quarter of 2024.

An estimated 4.1 million new cars and trucks were sold, a slight increase of .1% compared to the same period in 2023. Analysts point to pressing challenges, such as high interest rates and global economic uncertainty, as the most likely culprits for the modest growth.

Although minimal, this growth indicates a stable demand for new vehicles that is more in line with traditional markets seen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact of CDK Global Outage

Adding to the industry’s challenges, a cyberattack on CDK Global, a major provider of software and data services to car dealerships, disrupted sales operations in late June.

This outage temporarily affected dealerships’ ability to complete transactions, manage inventories, and process customer information efficiently. Many dealerships expect deliveries to push into Q3 of 2024, although the total impact of the outage has yet to be determined. 

Biggest Sales Gains

Toyota’s Remarkable Performance Toyota emerged as one of the biggest winners this quarter, selling over 621,000 vehicles.

This marks a significant 9% increase from the previous year. The Japanese automaker’s strong performance can be attributed to the rising popularity of its hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, which continue to attract eco-conscious consumers.

General Motors also reported impressive sales figures, moving nearly 700,000 cars and light trucks. A notable highlight for GM was the surge in electric vehicle (EV) deliveries, which increased by 40% to almost 22,000 units. This growth underscores GM’s successful push into the electric vehicle market and its commitment to sustainable transportation solutions.

Biggest Sales Losers

Stellantis’ Significant Decline In contrast, Stellantis, the maker of Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, and Jeep vehicles, experienced a sharp decline in sales.

The company’s second-quarter sales dropped by 21%, with approximately 345,000 cars and trucks sold. This significant decrease highlights the challenges Stellantis faces in a competitive market.

Tesla also reported a decline in U.S. sales, with estimates indicating a 16% drop in the second quarter, resulting in sales of around 175,000 cars. Globally, Tesla’s sales fell by 4.8% compared to the previous year.

The decline can be attributed to several factors, including increased competition from other EV manufacturers, an aging vehicle lineup, and brand perception issues linked to CEO Elon Musk’s public image.

Mixed Results, Bright Outlook 

The second quarter of 2024 presented a mixed bag for the U.S. auto industry. While overall sales growth was modest, companies like Toyota and General Motors capitalized on the increasing demand for hybrid and electric vehicles.

On the other hand, Stellantis and Tesla faced significant challenges, reflected in their declining sales figures. The cyberattack on CDK Global added an extra layer of difficulty, disrupting dealership operations at a traditionally lucrative time of year.

As the industry evolves, automakers must adapt to changing market dynamics and consumer preferences to sustain growth and remain competitive.

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