by Bill McBride on 1/04/2012 04:44:00 PM
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Based on an estimate from Autodata Corp, light vehicle sales were at a 13.56 million SAAR in December. That is up 8.9% from December 2010, and down 0.3% from the sales rate last month (13.60 million SAAR in Nov 2011).
This was at the consensus forecast of 13.6 million SAAR.
This graph shows the historical light vehicle sales (seasonally adjusted annual rate) from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for December (red, light vehicle sales of 13.56 million SAAR from Autodata Corp).
Click on graph for larger image.
The annualized sales rate was essentially unchanged from November, and the last two months were the strongest since June 2008 excluding cash-for-clunkers.
The second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.
This shows the huge collapse in sales in the 2007 recession. This also shows the impact of the tsunami and supply chain issues on sales, especially in May and June.
Note: dashed line is current estimated sales rate.
Growth in auto sales should make a strong positive contribution to Q4 GDP. Sales in Q3 averaged 12.45 million SAAR, and sales averaged 13.46 million SAAR in Q4, an increase of 8.1% over Q3.