2013 Economic Calendar
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U.S. & Intl Recaps   |   Event Definitions   |   Today's Calendar

Motor Vehicle Sales
Released On 4/2/2013 For Mar, 2013
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Domestic Vehicle Sales12.1 M12.1 M12.1 M to 12.2 M12.1 M
Total Vehicle Sales15.4 M15.4 M15.3 M to 15.6 M15.3 M

Highlights
Vehicle sales don't look like they will be a major factor for the March retail sales report. Total vehicle sales came in at a strong 15.3 million annual rate but show no significant difference from 15.4 million in February. Domestic sales came in unchanged at 12.1 million. Vehicle sales make up about 1/5 of total retail sales.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Sales of total light motor vehicles have been very strong the last four months, above a 15 million annual unit rate compared to low 14 million rates through much of last year. The February-to-January comparison is marginally favorable, at 15.4 million versus 15.3 million. Sales of domestics held steady at 12.1 million units. The numbers could improve in March once income tax refunds return to normal after the IRS recognized fiscal cliff tax legislation at the last minute of 2012. A boost to motor vehicle sales would help improve momentum in the recovery.

Definition
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
 
[Chart]
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
 
 

2013 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/32/13/14/25/16/37/28/19/410/111/112/3
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov
 


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