S&P Global Mobility Forecasts 88.3M Auto Sales in 2024

December 14, 2023

Global new light-vehicle sales in 2024 will see a 2.8-percent increase year-over-year, according to a new forecast by S&P Global Mobility. The light-vehicle output recovery continues to feed inventory restocking efforts across many regions, as supply chain and demand further recovers, supported by lingering pent-up consumer demand. S&P Global Mobility remains wary about recovery prospects, however, with consumer demand challenged by elevated vehicle pricing alongside challenging credit and lending conditions. 

The forecast outlook incorporates stickier interest rates, improving supply chains, the affordability squeeze, lofty new-vehicle prices, patchy consumer confidence, energy price/supply concerns, lending risks, and ongoing electrification growing pains. 

"2024 is expected to be another year of cagey recovery, with the auto industry moving beyond clear supply-side risks, into a murkier macro-led demand environment," says Colin Couchman, executive director of global light vehicle forecasting for S&P Global Mobility. "A major concern is how ‘natural’ EV demand will fare as governments consider scaling back interventionist policy support, especially for incentives and subsidies, industrial policy and OEM planning targets." 

Full-year 2023 global light vehicle sales, projected to reach nearly 86.0 million units by S&P Global Mobility, represent a 8.9-percent increase from 2022 levels, with new auto demand benefiting from ongoing output gains from restocking inventories as supply chains normalize.  

S&P Global Mobility expects U.S. sales volumes to reach 15.9 million units in 2024, an estimated increase of 2.0 percent from the projected 2023 level of 15.5 million units. 

“Just when the auto industry is looking to return to a sense of normalcy from the supply side of the equation, U.S. consumers in the market for new vehicles in 2024 will continue to face affordability issues by way of high interest rates, tight credit conditions and slow-to-recede new vehicle prices,” says Chris Hopson, manager of North American light vehicle sales forecasting for S&P Global Mobility. “An uncertain consumer translates to an expectation of a mildly progressing auto sales environment next year.” 

“With an assumption that auto production levels will continue to advance in 2024, growth of new-vehicle inventory presents the opportunity for rising incentive levels and deal making, a potential release valve to the vehicle price pressures realized over the last year,” Hopson adds.  

With the rollout of several highly anticipated models, U.S. BEV sales will continue to develop in the new year.  By the end of 2024, there will be nearly 100 BEV models available, double the number there were in 2022, covering several more segments and providing consumers interested in an electric vehicle even more choice.

For the North American region, overall production is expected to make a small gain, 0.5 percent, at 15.7 million units, boosted by 3.9-percent growth in U.S. activity. Inventory restocking continues to provide an upside, but is not uniform, with pockets of the Detroit-3’s lineup overstocked while Japanese and Korean brands still have a pipeline to fill. 

While supply-chain conditions undoubtedly have improved since 2022, S&P Global Mobility continues to warn of a structural deficit in capacity for semiconductors, notably older mature nodes. There was theoretical overcapacity in 2023 as demand from other industries eased, they say, but there remains a risk that constraints could resurface once demand from other sectors recovers.

“We do not foresee chip-supply problems in 2024 as allocation for automotive is robust and is bolstered by recent stockpiling of chips by the vehicle makers,” says Jeremie Bouchaud, director, semiconductor, E/E and autonomy practice, S&P Global Mobility. "But 2025 could be a bottleneck if non-automotive demand comes back strongly.” 

Regarding electrification, the past few years have seen many OEMs reaffirming electrification ambitions for the coming 5 to 15 yr. More recently the narrative has shifted, with some automakers highlighting the twin challenges of the electrification transition—scaling output of sellable BEVs and finding willing customers to buy them.  

Reports of the demise of electric vehicles have been greatly exaggerated, with S&P Global Mobility projecting global sales for battery-electric passenger vehicles to be on track to post 13.3 million units for 2024, accounting for an estimated 16.2 percent of global passenger vehicle sales. For reference, 2023 posted an estimated 9.6 million BEVs, for 12-percent market share. 

Technologies: Management


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