2012 Economic Calendar
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Motor Vehicle Sales  
Released On 10/2/2012 For Sep, 2012
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Total Vehicle Sales14.5 M14.5 M14.1 M to 14.8 M15.0 M
Domestic Vehicle Sales11.6 M11.5 M11.3 M to 11.7 M11.6 M

Unit sales of cars and trucks hit a new recovery high in September, at 15.0 million for the highest annual rate since March 2008. This is 4 percent above August which itself was a multi-year high. Led by import cars, all categories show monthly strength to indicate that consumers, despite soft income and soft expectations for income, are right now willing to make major purchases. Unit data doesn't always correlate to dollar totals in the monthly retail sales report, but today's numbers do point to a second month of noticeable strength for the September motor vehicle component.

Consensus Outlook
Sales of total light motor vehicles gained a sizable 3.1 percent in August, following a 2.0 percent dip in July. Sales for the month were an annualized 14.5 million units which matched February as the best rate of the year. August's gain was centered in domestic cars and domestic trucks where strength offsets slight monthly weakness on the import side. Domestic sales of autos and light trucks jumped 5.1 percent to an 11.6 million annualized pace.

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

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/42/13/14/35/16/17/38/19/410/211/112/3
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