by Bill McBride on 1/03/2013 04:00:00 PM
Thursday, January 03, 2013
Based on an estimate from WardsAuto, light vehicle sales were at a 15.31 million SAAR in December. That is up 13% from December 2011, and down 1% from the sales rate last month.
This was above the consensus forecast of 15.1 million SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate). Note: Some of the increase in November was a bounce back from Hurricane Sandy that negatively impacted sales at the end of October, and sales might have been boosted slightly in December from some storm related bounce back.
This graph shows the historical light vehicle sales from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for December (red, light vehicle sales of 15.31 million SAAR from WardsAuto).
Click on graph for larger image.
Sales in 2012 were just over 14.4 million, up from 12.7 million rate for the same period of 2011. Last year sales were depressed for several months (May through August) due to supply chain issues related to the tsunami in Japan.
The second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.
Note: dashed line is current estimated sales rate.
This shows the huge collapse in sales in the 2007 recession.
Sales were up over 13% in 2012, and auto sales have been a key contributor to the economy over the last three years. Sales will probably increase in 2013, but not at a double digit rate.