November 2012: Monthly Vehicle Sales vs Consumer Confidence

Monthly Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR)

This graph shows monthly automobile and light truck sales by millions of units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The SAAR has been slowly increasing over the past few years and reached 15.5 million in November 2012, the highest it has been since February 2008. The Great Recession, December 2007-June 2009 is shaded in blue.

New automotive industry statistics: After a somewhat slow October 2012, the auto industry saw an increase in light vehicle sales for November 2012. October brought somewhat sluggish auto sales, yielding a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 14.23M, November came in strong with 1.14 million units sold, raising the SAAR to 15.48M. Experts are observing that the sales are partly driven by the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy.

Edmunds.com noted that about 30,000 sales of automobiles were lost or deferred in October due to the superstorm. Also, between 200,000 and 250,000 vehicles were damaged or destroyed by Sandy, which fuels a demand for replacement vehicles.

SAAR on the rise

Monthly light vehicle sales have continued to rise through November 2012, driving up the SAAR to 15.5 million units. This is a number the industry hasn’t attained since the beginning of the Great Recession in February 2008, soon after that the number saw a steady decline.

There are many variables that affect auto sales. Cash for Clunkers played an important role in the revival of vehicle sales during Summer of 2009. Other influences include vehicle incentives, pricing and the aging of the fleet of registered vehicles. Now we have seen how much natural disasters can affect the sale of vehicles.

Another very important factor that affects automotive sales and is often overlooked is consumer confidence. Consumer confidence tends to go hand in hand with vehicle sales as seen in the chart to the right.

Auto SAAR Sales vs Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence has had a major jump in the past months resulting in an 36% increase. The affect has been seen as light vehicle sales have also been increasing in the past months.

Consumer confidence has had a major jump in the past several months resulting in an 36% increase. The affect has been seen as light vehicle sales have also been increasing in the past months.

Incentives and programs like Cash for Clunkers help seal the deal, but ultimately consumers have to feel good about the economy and their future in that economy.

The economy is still recovering from the recession, but people seem to be confident enough with our future to begin making large commitments such as buying new vehicles. Hopefully this trend will continue and help bring our economy back to its feet.

If you’re interested in tracking new vehicle sales or are looking for registration counts, Hedges & Company houses some of the most accurate and detailed registration data. Check out our online store for more information, or feel free to call us.

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