U.S. Auto Sales Point to Continued Demand

Several automakers indicated they expected demand to remain firm, or at least outpace supply. G.M. has taken steps to increase truck production at its plant in Flint, Mich., and reopened a plant in Oshawa, Ontario.

“We’re not seeing any indications demand for our vehicles is softening,” said Jim Cain, a G.M. spokesman. “Overall, the consumer is being resilient.”

Hyundai said that all 528,000 new vehicles it sold in the first nine months of the year had been purchased by consumers at dealerships, and that none had gone to fleet customers, such as corporations, government agencies or rental companies — a rare occurrence in the industry. In the third quarter of 2021, fleet sales made up about 9 percent of its total.

Rising prices, however, remain a concern and could eventually cause some shoppers to defer purchases of new vehicles, said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst at Edmunds.

She noted that the average purchase price of a new vehicle in September was $47,257, an increase of 6 percent from a year ago. The average monthly payment on new vehicles rose to $703 in the third quarter, from $630 a year ago.

“At some point, the consumer may not be in the best position to accept these higher prices,” she said.

On Sunday, Tesla said it delivered 343,000 electric cars worldwide in the third quarter. That was an increase from a year ago but short of analyst expectations. “This quarter was nothing to write home about,” Dan Ives, a Wedbush analyst, said in a report.

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