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Monday, March 03, 2014

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales increase to 15.3 million annual rate in February

by Calculated Risk on 3/03/2014 02:55:00 PM

Based on an AutoData estimate, light vehicle sales were at a 15.34 million SAAR in February. That is up slightly from February 2013, and up 1.8% from the sales rate last month. 

This was slightly below the consensus forecast of 15.4 million SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate).

Vehicle Sales Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the historical light vehicle sales from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for February (red, light vehicle sales of 15.34 million SAAR from AutoData).

Weather had an impact in February, from WardsAuto:

"John Felice, [Ford] vice president-U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service, says (delayed) orders should be filled this month, which will help March results. The executive also says February started slow, but built momentum as the month progressed, which also bodes well for sales this month."
“Weather continued to impact the industry in February, but GM sales started to thaw during the Winter Olympic Games as our brand and marketing messages took hold,” Kurt McNeil, GM vice president-Sales Operations, says in a statement.
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 were a key driver of the recovery.   

Looking forward, the growth rate will slow for auto sales, and most forecasts are for around a small gain in 2014 to around 16.1 million light vehicles.  Of course 2014 is off to a slow start.