Some good news: Monthly sales comparisons have seen steady improvement since January, despite the lack of supply the industry still. faces.   -  Photo: Obi - @pixel6propix on  Unsplash

Some good news: Monthly sales comparisons have seen steady improvement since January, despite the lack of supply the industry still. faces. 

Photo: Obi - @pixel6propix on Unsplash

When it comes to new vehicle sales, the U.S. car rental industry continues to feel the effects of supply chain disruption.

Through the first six months of 2022, sales into rental fleets totaled 341,983 units, a 32% drop over the same period in 2021. According to data collected by Bobit, the first-half totals mark the lowest rental fleet sales in at least 20 years — easily eclipsing the nadir of 788,349 units in H1 2011 as the industry dug out of the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, monthly comparisons have been steadily improving since January. Sales for June 2022 totaled 56,652 units, only a 9.8% drop compared to June 2021. However, the comparisons to 2021 become skewed as the supply problem blossomed in the second quarter last year.

Comparisons to 2019 — the last pre-pandemic year — put sales into a historical context: In 2019 rental sales totaled 180,020 units in June, marking a 68.5% decline for June 2022 sales. In the first half of 2019, 1,080,983 units were sold to rental fleets, for a 68.4% decline this year.

These low sales numbers are not an anomaly when compared to the overall U.S. sales market that is still constrained by a lack of supply.

Cox Automotive noted in its first-half new vehicle sales forecast that its “initial expectation of improving vehicle inventory in 2022 has not materialized” and that while used-vehicle inventory has returned to normal, new-vehicle inventory “continues to be the industry’s biggest headwind.”

Cox’s seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of new-vehicle sales for June came in at 13.8 million, up from last month’s 12.7 million pace but well below last year’s 15.5 million level. Seeing “no clear timeline for any notable recovery in new-vehicle inventory levels,” Cox Automotive lowered its full-year 2022 U.S. auto sales forecast to 14.4 million units from its previous forecast of 15.3 million.

Rental Sales Comparisons, 2019 to 2022

June 2019 180,020  
June 2022 56,652 -68.5%
May 2019 207,750  
May 2022 55,604 -73.2%
April 2019 141,385  
April 2022 65,344 -53.8%
March 2019 241,814  
March 2022 78,157 -67.7%
February 2019 192,034  
February 2022 52,008 -73%
January 2019 144,980  
January 2022 34,218 -76%
First Half 2019 1,080,983  
First Half 2022 341,983 -68.4%

 

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