WASHINGTON (10/6/15)--Cars continue to fly off the proverbial shelf. AutoData Corp. reported last week that total U.S. vehicle sales topped the 18 million-unit mark at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 18.2 million units sold (Economy.com Oct. 1).
The solid month follows on the heels of back-to-back strong performances in August and July.
Sales reached their “best pace since 2005 when employee discounts boosted the total,” said Sophia Koropeckyj, Moody’s analyst (Economy.com). “While incentives have contributed to the strong pace in recent months as well, the fabulous pace of sales reflects a confluence of factors. The late Labor Day pushed many sales into September that normally would be in August.”
The third-quarter pace of 17.8 million units SAAR was the strongest in 10 years. Sales are averaging 17.2 million units sold so far in 2015.
Light trucks have driven the surge, climbing to 10.3 million units SAAR in September compared with 8.7 million units in September 2014.
Car sales also continue to plod along, reaching 7.9 million units for the month.
Koropeckyj also found that the strong vehicle sales numbers are being fueled by North American assembled vehicles. In September, those vehicles held 81% of the sales market, the highest mark since the early 2000s.
“Consumer fundamentals are also spurring better vehicle buying,” Koropeckyj said. “The labor market is steadily improving, and credit availability is enabling consumers to buy or lease vehicles at low rates with low down payments. Better wage growth also spurs sales. The only factor that is less favorable is the equities market; stock sales are often used for vehicle purchases.”