Sunday, June 13, 2010

Concern about auto sales

by Bill McBride on 6/13/2010 05:31:00 PM

From Neal Boudette and Sharon Terlep at the WSJ: Auto-Sales Optimism Fades

According to AutoData, light vehicle sales were up 17.2% over the first five months of 2010 - compared to the same period in 2009. This was an increase from 3.95 million to 4.63 million cars and light trucks.

However - according to Boudette and Terlep - fleet sales were up 32% during the first five months, and sales to individuals were only up 13%.

And without individual buyers it will be hard to maintain sales growth.

George Pipas, the top sales analyst at Ford Motor Co., said he is seeing evidence that consumers are deferring decisions on major purchases, in large part because home values and income growth haven't rebounded.

"These are two things that really have to happen before you will see auto sales move up more significantly," Mr. Pipas said.
It will be sometime before home values increase significantly (I expect further price declines later this year), and income growth in most industries will be muted with high unemployment. So we should probably expect the growth in auto sales to slow significantly.

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