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Monday, June 03, 2013

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales increased to 15.3 million annual rate in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/03/2013 03:10:00 PM

Based on an estimate from AutoData Corp, light vehicle sales were at a 15.31 million SAAR in May. That is up 10% from May 2012, and up 3% from the sales rate last month.

This was slightly above the consensus forecast of 15.2 million SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate).

This graph shows the historical light vehicle sales from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for May (red, light vehicle sales of 15.31 million SAAR from AutoData).

Vehicle Sales Click on graph for larger image.

This was the near the post-recession high for auto sales. 

After three consecutive years of double digit auto sales growth, the growth rate will probably slow in 2013 - but this will still be another positive year for the auto industry even if sales move mostly sideways for the rest of 2013.

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

Vehicle SalesNote: dashed line is current estimated sales rate.

Unlike residential investment, auto sales bounced back fairly quickly following the recession and had been a key driver of the recovery.    Looking forward, growth will slow for auto sales.  If sales average the recent pace for the entire year, total sales will be up about 5% from 2012.