by Bill McBride on 2/01/2012 03:50:00 PM
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Based on an estimate from Autodata Corp, light vehicle sales were at a 14.18 million SAAR in January. That is up 12.1% from January 2011, and up 5.1% from the sales rate last month (13.5 million SAAR in Dec 2011).
This was well above 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 14.18 million SAAR from Autodata Corp).
Click on graph for larger image.
The annualized sales rate was up sharply from December, and this was about the same level as August 2009 with the spike in sales from "cash-for-clunkers". Excluding cash-for-clunkers this was the strongest sales month since April 2008.
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 will probably make another strong positive contribution GDP in Q1 2012 GDP, although not as strong as in Q4 2011.
Another strong gain for auto sales.