Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Annual Vehicle Sales: On Pace to be unchanged in 2018

by Bill McBride on 5/02/2018 10:54:00 AM

The BEA released their estimate of April vehicle sales this morning. The BEA estimated sales of 17.07 million SAAR in April 2018 (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate), down 1.7% from the March sales rate, and up slightly from April 2017.

Through April, light vehicle sales are on pace to be unchanged in 2018 compared to 2017.

This would still make 2018 tied with 2017 for the fourth best year on record after 2016, 2015, and 2000.

My guess is vehicle sales will finish the year with sales lower than in 2017. A small decline in sales this year isn't a concern - I think sales will move mostly sideways at near record levels.

As I noted last year, this means the economic boost from increasing auto sales is over (from the bottom in 2009, auto sales boosted growth every year through 2016).

Annual Vehicle Sales
Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows annual light vehicle sales since 1976.   Source: BEA.

Sales for 2018 are estimated based on the pace of sales during the first four months.