By Kannaki Deka and Joseph White

(Reuters) -U.S. new auto product sales could slide to the cheapest 1st-quarter quantity in the earlier ten years as chip shortages and the Ukraine disaster squeeze inventories and climbing rates force fewer affluent buyers out of the market place, analysis organization Cox Automotive mentioned Monday.

U.S. automobile and gentle truck profits are expected to fall extra than 24% to about 1.22 million models in March and drop more than 16% in the very first quarter.

“Make no slip-up, this current market is caught in lower gear,” explained Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, introducing that sales will remain at recent degrees right up until supply increases.

Cox forecasters stated the U.S. economic climate should not working experience a recession. But Cox cut its forecast for U.S. vehicle and light truck product sales in all of 2022 to 15.3 million motor vehicles, down 700,000 cars from its January outlook. And even hitting the new focus on will require major enhancement in supply chain disruptions, Cox stated.

Fresh new lockdowns in China as perfectly as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have reignited source bottlenecks that were easing more than the latest months. Limited provides have pushed new vehicle prices to report high stages.

Detroit’s mainstream brand names and Nissan Motor Corp are obtaining damage as fewer affluent consumers depart the new auto market place, Cox analysts said throughout a get in touch with.

Households with a lot less than $75,000 in once-a-year earnings now account for practically two proportion details considerably less of the U.S. light-weight car or truck current market than a yr ago, Chesbrough claimed. The typical earnings of a new motor vehicle buyer is now $124,000.

Detroit mainstream brands this kind of as Chevrolet are shedding current market share, while Cox predicted Japan’s Toyota could be the top rated marketing automaker in the U.S. current market for the first quarter.

“Lengthy-phrase, you are shrinking the pool of folks who are probable to invest in” a new auto, claimed Cox Main Economist Jonathan Smoke.

(Reporting by Kannaki Deka in Bengaluru and Joseph White in Detroit Enhancing by Devika Syamnath and Tomasz Janowski)