by Calculated Risk on 11/02/2018 03:47:00 PM
Friday, November 02, 2018
The BEA released their estimate of October vehicle sales. The BEA estimated sales of 17.51 million SAAR in October 2018 (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate), up 0.5% from the September sales rate, and down 2.0% from October 2017.
Through October, light vehicle sales are on pace to be mostly unchanged in 2018 compared to 2017.
This would make 2018 the fifth best year on record after 2016, 2015, 2000, and 2017.
Click on graph for larger image.
This graph shows annual light vehicle sales since 1976. Source: BEA.
Sales for 2018 are estimated based on the pace of sales during the first ten months.
The second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.
Note: dashed line is current estimated sales rate of 17.51 million SAAR.
My guess is vehicle sales will finish the year with sales lower than in 2017 (sales in late 2017 were boosted by buying following the hurricanes), and will probably be just over 17 million for the year (the lowest since 2014).
A small decline in sales this year isn't a concern - I think sales will move mostly sideways at near record levels.
As I noted last year, this means the economic boost from increasing auto sales is over (from the bottom in 2009, auto sales boosted growth every year through 2016).