We are closing down for the holiday weekend.
The Auto News column will return next Tuesday when there will be a lot going on. (See below) while the Road Test column will resume on Sept. 8.
My very best wishes for a great weekend, and stay safe!
Now, on to today’s news.
Auto loan amounts and monthly payments are reaching new highs, but Experian reports more people are making their monthly payments on time.
The percentage of delinquent payments dropped to 2.1 percent in the second quarter, down only one-tenth of a percent.
New and used vehicle monthly payments hit record highs during the quarter, with the average new monthly payment increasing $20 year-over-year to $525, and the average used monthly payment increasing $13 over the same time period, reaching $378.
For some collectors the price of a car does not matter. Mecum Auctions total sales rose 38 percent at its latest event in Monterey California. And we’re talking some big bucks here.
A 2014 hybrid drive Ferrari LaFerrari went for nearly $3.2 million, a 1989 Porsche 962 sold for $2.2 million. And a Duesenberg 1929 Model J Convertible Sedan brought a $1.155 million sale. That is not the Duesenberg that was recently mentioned in this column that old for $3.8 million.
The LaFerrari is pictured.
When all of us return from the Labor Day weekend, auto makers will be talking about their latest sales. Edmunds is forecasting they will be up 1.2 percent year over year.
“Hurricane Harvey depressed August sales by 2 percent when it hit last year, which is likely why we’re seeing a year-over-year lift in sales,” said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds’ manager of industry analysis.
“Despite this slight boost, August sales fall in line with the slower overall sales pace we expect to see through the second half of the year,” he said. Edmunds analysts also note that through July, inventories reached their lowest levels since 2016.
While this is a positive sign that the industry has right-sized supply for decreasing demand, fewer vehicles on dealer lots means fewer vehicles are being sold compared to recent years.
“There are a lot of things working against the automotive market right now: Incentive spending is maxed out, interest rates are rising, and vehicle prices are reaching record highs,” said Acevedo. “Add to that the uncertainty that comes with renegotiating NAFTA and tariff talks and it amounts to what could be a challenging back half of the year for automakers.”
Edmunds is forecasting small sales gains for Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai/Kia with the biggest increase, 15 percent, at Fiat Chrysler.
Also next Tuesday, Mercedes will present its first, all-electric model from its new EQ brand. It has released few details of what is expected to be an EV crossover, and of course, there is the mandatory teaser pic.