by Bill McBride on 3/01/2012 03:45:00 PM
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Based on an estimate from Autodata Corp, light vehicle sales were at a 15.1 million SAAR in February. That is up 14.1% from February 2011, and up 6.9% from the sales rate last month (14.13 million SAAR in Jan 2012).
This was well above the consensus forecast of 14.0 million SAAR.
This graph shows the historical light vehicle sales (seasonally adjusted annual rate) from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for February (red, light vehicle sales of 15.1 million SAAR from Autodata Corp).
Click on graph for larger image.
The annualized sales rate is up sharply over the last two months, and this is the highest sales rate since February 2008 - and above the August 2009 rate with the spike in sales from "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 of last year.
Note: dashed line is current estimated sales rate.
Growth in auto sales will make another strong positive contribution GDP in Q1 2012 GDP.