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Friday, January 06, 2023

Annual Vehicle Sales decrease 8% in 2022; Heavy Trucks Sales up 2% YoY

by Calculated Risk on 1/06/2023 03:09:00 PM

The BEA released their estimate of light vehicle sales for December. The BEA estimates sales of 13.31 million SAAR in December 2022 (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate), down 6.3% from the November sales rate, and up 4.7% from December 2021. 

Annual Vehicle SalesClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows annual sales since 1976.

Light vehicle sales in 2022 were at 13.73 million, down 8.1% from 14.95 million in 2021.

Sales in 2022 were impacted significantly by supply chain disruptions, and sales were still down 19% from the 2019 level.

This suggests vehicle sales might increase in 2023 even with higher rates and a soft economy.

The second graph shows heavy truck sales since 1967 using data from the BEA. The dashed line is the December 2022 seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR).

Heavy truck sales really collapsed during the great recession, falling to a low of 180 thousand SAAR in May 2009.  Then heavy truck sales increased to a new all-time high of 570 thousand SAAR in April 2019.

Heavy Truck Sales Note: "Heavy trucks - trucks more than 14,000 pounds gross vehicle weight."

Heavy truck sales declined sharply at the beginning of the pandemic, falling to a low of 308 thousand SAAR in May 2020.  

Heavy truck sales were at 441 thousand SAAR in December, down from 510 thousand in November, and down 3.5% from 456 thousand SAAR in December 2021.  

On annual basis, sales in 2022 were at 470 thousand, up 1.8% from 462 thousand in 2021.

Usually, heavy truck sales decline sharply prior to a recession.   Sales were decent in December.