Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Hamilton on December Auto Sales

by Calculated Risk on 1/07/2009 01:01:00 AM

Dr. Hamilton points out that the sales decline in recent months was very different from earlier in 2008:

Overall, in the fall of 2008 we saw a big decline in all categories-- cars and SUVs, imports and domestics. That is very different from the problems last spring and summer, when SUVs were clobbered, but domestic cars were not hit too badly and sales of imported cars were actually up slightly.

... In early 2008, the primary problem for U.S. auto manufacturers was the sharp hike in gasoline prices, which explains the collapse of sales of SUVs at the same time that imports of smaller cars were on the way up.

... By contrast, the current problems for the auto sector resulted from the broad collapse in overall consumer spending.
Here is the graph for auto sales - see Professor Hamilton's post to compare autos and light trucks (including SUVs):

Auto Sales
Source: Econbrowser / Wardsauto.com