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U.S. Light Vehicle Sales at 14.4 million annual rate in March

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Based on an estimate from Autodata Corp, light vehicle sales were at a 14.37 million SAAR in March. That is up 10.4% from March 2011, but down 4.4% from the sales rate last month (15.03 million SAAR in Feb 2012).

This was below the consensus forecast of 14.7 million SAAR.

This graph shows the historical light vehicle sales (seasonally adjusted annual rate) from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for March (red, light vehicle sales of 14.37 million SAAR from Autodata Corp).

Vehicle Sales Click on graph for larger image.

The annualized sales rate is up in Q1 from Q4.

March was above the August 2009 rate with the spike in sales from “cash-for-clunkers”. Only February had a higher sales rates since early 2008.

The second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.

This shows the huge collapse in sales in the 2007 recession. This also shows the impact of the tsunami and supply chain issues on sales, especially in May and June of last year.

Vehicle SalesNote: dashed line is current estimated sales rate.

Even though this was below expectations, growth in auto sales will make another strong positive contribution to GDP in Q1 2012.

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