by Calculated Risk on 3/04/2020 08:31:00 AM
Wednesday, March 04, 2020
The BEA released their estimate of February vehicle sales this morning. The BEA estimated light vehicle sales of 16.83 million SAAR in February 2020 (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate), down 0.5% from the revised January sales rate, and up 1.9% from February 2019.
Sales in January were revised up from 16.84 million SAAR to 16.92 million SAAR.
Click on graph for larger image.
This graph shows light vehicle sales since 2006 from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for February 2020 (red).
A small decline in sales last year wasn't a concern. My view - before the health crisis - was that sales would move mostly sideways at near record levels this year. Going forward, the impact of COVID-19 on vehicle sales is unclear.
This means the economic boost from increasing auto sales is over (from the bottom in 2009, auto sales boosted growth every year through 2016).
The second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.
Note: dashed line is current estimated sales rate of 16.83 million SAAR.
Sales have been generally decreasing slightly, but are still at a high level.