Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Vehicle Sales Forecast: Sales Around 17 Million SAAR in January

by Bill McBride on 1/25/2017 12:49:00 PM

The automakers will report January vehicle sales on Wednesday, February 1st.

Note: There were 24 selling days in January 2017, unchanged from 24 in January 2016.

From WardsAuto: Forecast: January Forecast Calls for Low Sales, High Inventory

The U.S. automotive industry is expected to a have a slow start in the new year, with January light-vehicle sales down 4.4% from like-2016. ... The resulting seasonally adjusted annual rate is 17.0 million units, well below the 18.3 million in the previous month and 17.4 million year-ago.
...
December inventory was 9.2% above same-month 2015, the biggest year-over-year gap since the summer of 2014. Weak sales in January will keep inventory levels high, 16.0% greater than year-ago. A 93-day supply is expected to be available at the end of the month, a major jump from 62 days in December and 77 in January 2016.
emphasis added
Here is a table (source: BEA) showing the top 10 years for light vehicle sales.

2016 was the best ever, and 2017 will probably be mostly flat (no growth) compared to 2016.  With high inventories, production in 2017 will probably decline - even with solid sales.

Light Vehicle Sales, Top 10 Years
  YearSales (000s)
1 201617,465
2 201517,396
3 200017,350
4 200117,122
5 200516,948
6 199916,894
7 200416,867
8 200216,816
9 200316,639
10200616,504