2017 Economic Calendar
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Motor Vehicle Sales  
Released On 4/3/2017 For Mar, 2017
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Total Vehicle Sales17.6 M17.4 M17.2 M to 17.8 M16.6 M
Domestic Vehicle Sales14.0 M13.3 M

First-quarter GDP will take another hit, this time from March vehicle sales which like February and January proved weak. But the March data is unusually weak, down 5.7 in the month to a 16.6 million annualized rate that is a 2-year low. Sales of North American-made and imports both suffered, at 13.3 and 3.4 million rates, with light trucks and autos both down. Vehicle sales seem to have been pulled forward into December which was an unusually strong month and which helped the fourth quarter at the expense of the first quarter.

Consensus Outlook
Unit vehicle sales offer strong indications for the motor vehicle component of monthly retail sales. After spiking late last year, vehicles sales opened the year flat which makes for easy comparisons in March. Yet forecasters don't see any improvement, at a consensus 17.4 million annualized rate in March which would be under 17.6 million in both February and January. A swing higher or lower than expected could have significant implications for first-quarter GDP.

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

2017 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/42/13/14/35/26/17/38/19/110/311/112/1
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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