Tuesday, October 01, 2013

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales decline to 15.2 million annual rate in September

by Bill McBride on 10/01/2013 02:47:00 PM

Based on an estimate from WardsAuto, light vehicle sales were at a 15.24 million SAAR in September. That is up 2.4% from September 2012, and down 4.9% from the sales rate last month. Some of the decline in September (and strong August) was related to the timing of the Labor Day holiday.

This was below the consensus forecast of 15.8 million SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate).

This graph shows the historical light vehicle sales from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for September (red, light vehicle sales of 15.24 million SAAR from WardsAuto).


Vehicle Sales Click on graph for larger image.

This was the lowest sales rate since April, but followed a strong August - August was the first time the sales rate was over 16 million since November 2007.

The growth rate will probably slow in 2013 - compared to the previous three years - but this will still be another solid year for the auto industry.

The second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.

Vehicle SalesNote: dashed line is current estimated sales rate.

Unlike residential investment, auto sales bounced back fairly quickly following the recession and are still a key driver of the recovery.    Looking forward, growth will slow for auto sales.  If sales average the recent pace for the entire year, total sales will be up about 9% from 2012, not quite double digit but still strong.

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