Wards Auto released their estimate of light vehicle sales for October: October U.S. Light-Vehicle Sales Miss Expectations but Still Record 6% Increase (pay site).October’s results were below expectations, apparently due to weakness at the end of the month. Most automakers finished below mid-month projections for each, thus the industry’s overall weaker results can’t be blamed on underestimating the impacts to Ford, GM and Stellantis from the strike-related plant shutdowns. The results also show that other automakers did not benefit from losses at the Detroit 3. Still, most manufacturers recorded year-over-year gains and the industry posted its 14th straight increase.
This graph shows light vehicle sales since 2006 from the BEA (blue) and Wards Auto’s estimate for September (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 are up year-over-year.
Sales in October were below Ward’s forecast, but above the consensus forecast.