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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales at 14.96 million annual rate in September, Highest since Feb 2008

by Calculated Risk on 10/02/2012 03:47:00 PM

Based on an estimate from Autodata Corp, light vehicle sales were at a 14.96 million SAAR in September. That is up 14% from September 2011, and up 3% from the sales rate last month.

This was above the consensus forecast of 14.5 million SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate).

This graph shows the historical light vehicle sales from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for September (red, light vehicle sales of 14.96 million SAAR from Autodata Corp).

Vehicle Sales Click on graph for larger image.

Sales have averaged a 14.25 million annual sales rate through the first nine months of 2012, up from 12.5 million rate for the same period of 2011. Last year sales were depressed for several months (May through August) due to supply chain issues related to the tsunami in Japan. By September 2011, the supply chain issues were mostly resolved, and this year-over-year increase for September is significant.

The second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.

Vehicle SalesNote: dashed line is current estimated sales rate.

This shows the huge collapse in sales in the 2007 recession.

It looks like auto sales were up about 2.7% in Q3 compared to Q2, and auto sales will make another small positive contribution to GDP. However it appears there is a shift to smaller cars, so total revenue might not increase much.