Monday, June 04, 2018

Annual Vehicle Sales: On Pace to decline slightly in 2018

by Bill McBride on 6/04/2018 04:09:00 PM

The BEA released their estimate of May vehicle sales this morning. The BEA estimated sales of 16.81 million SAAR in May 2018 (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate), down 1.8% from the April sales rate, and up slightly from May 2017.

Through May, light vehicle sales are on pace to be down slightly in 2018 compared to 2017.

This would make 2018 the sixth best year on record after 2016, 2015, 2000, 2017 and 2001.

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 five months.