Nov 22, 2019

Consumers scaled back plans to buy a new car in October

Data: The Conference Board; h/t Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok; Chart: Axios Visuals

Consumers scaled back plans to buy a new car last month.

Why it matters: It may signal consumers' lack of confidence in the staying power of the U.S. economy.

  • What they’re saying: “If we find that consumers are concerned about the broader economy and they think that a recession may be coming next year or they’re worried about their own economic stability, they’re going to pull back from ... big-ticket purchases like vehicles,” Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, tells Axios. 

But, but, but: “We are at the late stage of this business cycle. Pretty much everyone who’s wanted a new vehicle has bought one. It’s almost vehicle saturation at this point,” which might also explain the drop-off in purchase plans, Chesbrough says.

Go deeper: Fully electric vehicles could account for 7.6% of U.S. car sales

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The consumer confidence gap shrank in November

Data: The Conference Board; Chart: Axios Visuals

The gap between consumers' confidence in the current state of the economy and their outlook for future economic conditions shrunk slightly in November, according to closely watched data released by The Conference Board on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "For some time, consumers have been more positive on current conditions, but have had a more wary eye on the future. That appears to be changing, at least at the margins," Jim Baird, Plante Moran Financial Advisors' chief investment officer, wrote in a note to clients.

Go deeper: Consumers scaled back plans to buy a new car in October

Keep ReadingArrowNov 27, 2019

High-tech cars drive auto loans to record highs in the U.S.

Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Loans for new and used cars hit a new record in the third quarter, as consumers continue to opt for cars with newer technology and higher price tags, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Auto debt in the U.S. continues to grow and topped $1.32 trillion in the third quarter — up $50 billion from last year, Bloomberg notes. The number of 90-day car loan delinquencies also increased from 4.27% last year to 4.71%.

Go deeperArrowDec 7, 2019

The world may have seen its peak demand for gas-powered vehicles

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sales of gasoline-powered light-duty vehicles in the U.S. are unlikely to ever top their 2016 level of 17.3 million, according to an analysis from the think tank Third Way.

Why it matters: Transportation is the country's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Go deeperArrowNov 25, 2019