2011 Economic Calendar
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Motor Vehicle Sales  
Released On 9/1/2011 For Aug, 2011
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Total Vehicle Sales12.2 M12.1 M11.8 M to 12.3 M12.1 M
Domestic Vehicle Sales9.5 M9.5 M9.3 M to 9.5 M9.4 M

Don't expect to see too much strength in the motor vehicle component of the government's retail sales report for August, at least based on unit sales of North American-made cars and light trucks. Sales came in at a 9.4 million annual rate vs July's 9.5 million rate. Consumers are downbeat right now and, to trigger buying, need incentives which were light in August. In July, the motor vehicle component rose 0.4 percent on top of June's big 0.7 percent gain which followed a run of depressed sales tied to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Consensus Outlook
Sales of domestic light motor vehicles in July jumped to an annualized 9.50 million unit pace from 8.88 million the month before. Sales improved even for imports which rose to 2.73 million from 2.68 million. Imports, however, still appear to be constrained by shortages of parts from Japan. Sales of combined unit new motor vehicles showed a big monthly gain in July, up 5.8 percent from June to a 12.23 million annual rate. Importantly, the numbers point to a consumer that is still willing to spend and to likely increases in motor vehicle assemblies.

Unit sales of motor vehicles include domestic sales and foreign sales, otherwise referred to as imports. Domestics are sales of autos produced in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Imports are U.S. sales of vehicles produced elsewhere. These are for light vehicles which include all passenger cars and light trucks up to 14,000 pounds gross weight (including minivans and sport utility vehicles). Individual manufacturers usually report sales on the first business day of the month. One of the first tabulators of the data is Autodata Corporation. Motor vehicle sales are good indicators of trends in consumer spending and often are considered a leading indicator at business cycle turning points. One should note that manufacturers do not break out vehicle sales to businesses, which are a smaller but still significant percentage of the monthly total.  Why Investors Care
Motor vehicles sales slowed notably in 2008 and 2009 due to recession. Recovery boosted sales in 2010 and early 2011 before economic growth slowed. Truck shares hit their peak in 2005 when gasoline was cheap. Trucks have since oscillated sharply with spikes in gasoline in 2008 and 2010.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2011 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/42/13/14/15/36/17/18/29/110/311/112/1
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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