Tuesday, April 01, 2014

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales increase to 16.4 million annual rate in March, Highest since 2007

by Bill McBride on 4/01/2014 03:17:00 PM

Based on an WardsAuto estimate, light vehicle sales were at a 16.38 million SAAR in March. That is up 7.3% from March 2013, and up 7.2% from the sales rate last month. 

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

Vehicle Sales Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the historical light vehicle sales from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for March (red, light vehicle sales of 16.38 million SAAR from WardsAuto).

Severe weather clearly impacted sales in January and February, and some of the increase in March was probably a bounce back due to better weather.

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 were a key driver of the recovery.   

Looking forward, the growth rate will slow for auto sales, and most forecasts are for around a small gain in 2014 to around 16.1 million light vehicles. 

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