Tuesday, June 03, 2014

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales increase to 16.7 million annual rate in May, Highest Rate since 2007

by Bill McBride on 6/03/2014 02:42:00 PM

Based on an AutoData estimate, light vehicle sales were at a 16.77 million SAAR in May. That is up 9% from May 2013, and up 5% from the sales rate last month.

This is the highest sales rate since February 2007.

Note: WardsAuto is currently estimating 16.70 million SAAR (updated final), see:  May 2014 Sales Thread: Late-Month Sales Send SAAR Soaring

This was above the consensus forecast of 16.1 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 May (red, light vehicle sales of 16.77 million SAAR from AutoData).

Severe weather clearly impacted sales in January and February.  Since then vehicle sales have been solid.

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.

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