Motor Vehicle Sales: Slowdown Continued

September 5, 2018
Bottom Line: While General Motors no longer reports monthly sales figures, the company does give their sales to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, who releases the details of auto sales with a day's lag following the headline number. And the data released this morning show a concerning trend. Car sales are near cycle lows -- but much of that is due to consumers' preferences for SUVs, which are classified as trucks. The concern for the broader vehicle sales trend is the loss of upward momentum in truck sales. If we adjusted for the one-off replacement buying following the hurricanes last year, the trend would be clearly lower. This bears watching as an important barometer of consumption in the 2nd Half. Motor Vehicle Sales FELL by 0.6% in August to 16.6 million units annualized, compared with market expectations for a larger increase to 16.8 million. In August, sales of automobiles FELL by 4.3% to 4.9 million units while sales of light trucks ROSE by 1.0% to 11.7 million units. Domestic motor vehicle sales FELL by 0.3% to 12.9 million units. Sales of domestic automobiles FELL by 6.2% to 3.7 million while sales of domestic light trucks ROSE by 2.3% to 9.2 million. Imported motor vehicle sales FELL by 1.7% to 3.7 million units. Sales of imported automobiles ROSE by 2.3% to 1.2 million units while sales of imported light trucks FELL by 3.4% to 2.5 million.