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Friday, November 03, 2023

Heavy Truck Sales Decline in October, Unchanged YoY

by Calculated Risk on 11/03/2023 12:39:00 PM

The BEA released their estimate of vehicle sales for October.

This graph shows heavy truck sales since 1967 using data from the BEA. The dashed line is the October 2023 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 record high of 570 thousand SAAR in April 2019.

Heavy Truck Sales Click on graph for larger image.

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 475 thousand SAAR in October, down from 502 thousand in September, and mostly unchanged from 476 thousand SAAR in October 2022.  

Usually, heavy truck sales decline sharply prior to a recession.   The recent decline is something to watch.

As I noted earlier this week, Vehicles Sales decrease to 15.5 million SAAR in October; Up 6% YoY

Vehicle SalesThe second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.  Vehicle sales were at 15.50 million SAAR in October, down from 15.68 million in September, and up 6% from 14.68 million in October 2022.

Vehicle sales are usually a transmission mechanism for Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy, although far behind housing.  This time vehicle sales were more suppressed by supply chain issues and have picked up recently.