Automobile

Luxury retailers are crushing it — but …

The luxury-vehicle segment is on a post-Covid high with sales surging 63 percent in the second quarter compared with a year ago.

The segment is benefiting from the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in major metro markets, where a higher concentration of premium vehicle sales occur, said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.

Premium brands sold a total of 624,414 cars and light trucks in the second quarter, outpacing the broader industry’s 49 percent increase.

But as the global semiconductor shortage silences assembly lines and taps the brakes on sales activity, that euphoria may subside in the second half.

Inventory constraints cooled the seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate to 15.35 million last month, according to Motor Intelligence data. Spring saw the hottest three-month stretch of new-vehicle sales since 2005, and in April, the SAAR peaked at 18.69 million.

Despite the robust results, automakers are sounding alarm bells.

Mercedes-Benz said last week that chip scarcity affected global deliveries in the second quarter, and especially in June. The drag on sales is expected to continue through year end, the automaker said.

The supply chain disruption is also worrying Jaguar Land Rover. The British automaker noted last week it expects wholesale volume in the three months ending Sept. 30, to be about 50 percent lower than planned.

“The chip shortage is presently very dynamic and difficult to forecast,” JLR said in a statement. “We expect some level of shortages will continue through to the end of the year and beyond.”

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