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Monday, August 31, 2009

Clunkers and August Auto Sales

by Calculated Risk on 8/31/2009 08:23:00 PM

There is no question auto sales will decline sharply in September, but there is a pretty amazing range of estimates for August ... a couple of excerpts:

From the WSJ: Next for Auto Sector, Post-Clunker Hangover

Auto sales for August, due out by Tuesday afternoon, are expected to come in between 13 million SAAR, or the seasonally adjusted annual rate of car sales, and 16 million.
And from Bloomberg: U.S. Auto-Sales Rate May Be Highest Since April 2008
U.S. auto sales in August probably will run at the highest rate since April 2008 after the federal government’s “cash for clunkers” rebates fueled demand.

The so-called seasonally adjusted annual rate for this month will be 14.3 million, the average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
August sales results, released tomorrow, will reflect more than three weeks of transactions under the clunkers program, which ran from July 27 through Aug. 24.
There probably were 550 thousand clunker related sales in August, but the question is the number of non-clunker sales. If there was little cannibalization of regular sales, non-clunker sales would probably be close to 800 thousand. August is usually a strong sales month, and adjusting for seasonal factors, this would suggest a sales rate close to 16 million SAAR.

From Dow Jones: Sees Aug US Auto Sales Up 18%; Wary On Sept is projecting August U.S. new-vehicle sales of about 1.17 million and a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of slightly more than 13 million.
A sales rate of 13 million SAAR - although the highest rate since last August - would have to be considered very disappointing.