George Augustaitis

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Bio: Director of Automotive Industry and Economic Analysis

Posts by George Augustaitis

Industry Pulse: Could forgiveness of student loans lead to a new peak in new and CPO vehicle sales?

Posted by George Augustaitis on July 29, 2019

Our Director of Automotive Industry and Economic Analysis, George Augustaitis, provides insight into how forgiveness of student loans could impact vehicle sales in the US.

Debt continues to increase while wages lag, and many Americans struggle to purchase a new car. In fact, affordability represents the most severe headwind causing the decline in vehicle sales, which are down 2.0% calendar year to date (CYTD) 2019.

A recent survey from Bankrate finds that 58% of Millennials and 56% of all Americans lose sleep over money troubles. Today, 40% of Millennials earn at least half their income from a side hustle. Millennials are the largest living adult generation as of 2019, and they represent a key demographic in the success of the new and certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle market. However, an increasing number of Millennials indicate that cost pushes them away from purchasing a new vehicle. Knowing this, increasing Millennial disposable income would lead to a rise in the new-vehicle market.

For Millennials, student loans represent the primary reason for their low disposable income. An estimated 44.7 million people in the US have student debt, which amounts to 1 in 4 Americans. With the estimated student debt at $1.49 trillion and the average monthly payment at $393, the increasing amount of student debt shapes affordability significantly more than wages, housing costs, and the rising price of vehicles.

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Topics: analysis, industry insights, industry news, trends

Industry Pulse: it’s more than just tax cuts impacting the used vehicle market

Posted by George Augustaitis on June 3, 2019

At CarGurus, we’re always looking for ways to share more industry insights with our valued dealers. Today, our Director of Automotive Industry and Economic Analysis, George Augustaitis, takes a look at how tax cuts and dwindling inventory are affecting the used car market.

The IRS started to release information on tax returns in the first week of February. As the data from the IRS changed over time, the media released weekly headlines, whipping back and forth between negative and positive:

Tax Refunds down 8.7%…”

Here’s why the average tax refund check is down 16% from last year

After a slow start, tax refunds are ticking up…”

Tax refunds are up from last year…”

About 8 million individuals who received a refund last year may owe this time

To date, the IRS has reported filings through the week ending May 10, 2019, and at first glance, the average refund is down 1.7%.

While the key metrics—total number of refunds, amount of money issued, and average refund—show a negative story, refunds alone aren’t the factor driving change in used car sales in the US.

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Topics: CarGurus data, industry news, industry pulse, trends