Wards Auto released their estimate of light vehicle sales for July: U.S. Light-Vehicle Sales Post 11th Straight Increase in July (pay site).Assuming no shocks to the economy, sales appear easily on their way to reaching the 15.4 million units forecast for the year. Battery-electric-vehicle deliveries increased 51% year-over-year, accounting for a record-high 7.5% of the market.
This graph shows light vehicle sales since 2006 from the BEA (blue) and Wards Auto’s estimate for July (red).
The impact of COVID-19 was significant, and April 2020 was the worst month. After April 2020, sales increased, and were close to sales in 2019 (the year before the pandemic). However, sales decreased in 2021 due to supply issues. The “supply chain bottom” was in September 2021.
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.
Sales in July were above the consensus forecast.