Wards Auto released their estimate of light vehicle sales for September: September U.S. Light-Vehicles Sales Bounce Back Despite Gloomy Conditions (pay site).Hard to say exactly how much but sales could have been slightly stronger in September if not for some lost inventory caused by production cuts related to plant shutdowns from UAW strikes at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. Sales losses will be more strongly felt in October as production cuts mount.
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 have picked up recently.
Sales in September were above the consensus forecast.