US retail car sales continue to climb

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Ricter, May 24, 2012.

  1. Ricter


    Financial Times

    Car-driven GDP growth
    Posted by Cardiff Garcia on May 24 19:50.

    "Our US econo-stat of the day:

    " Vehicle purchases by consumers alone accounted for 30% of all the GDP growth in the last two quarters.

    "And also consider this:

    " Motor vehicle output is less than 3% of GDP. But its standard deviation is more than nine times the overall GDP’s standard deviation. So in the world of growth rates, the auto sector will tend to punch well above its weight in expansions (and well below during recessions).

    "That’s from Credit Suisse economists, who add that the prevalent worry (though it’s not theirs) with the recent pickup in auto sales is that it isn’t sustainable given the recent decline in the savings rate.

    "There was similar concern about consumption generally throughout the second half of last year, as spending climbed more rapidly than incomes — but we just needed to wait a little while for the data to be revised. After the revisions, it turned out that incomes were simply higher than we’d thought all along, as was the savings rate. Something similar might happen again; who knows.

    "But there are other reasons to be hopeful (with the usual caveats) that the trend in motor vehicle purchases will continue. Even now, we remain well below the average annualised pace of buying in the last decade, and only recently did the pace climb above the replacement rate after an extended period below it.

    "Translation: still lots of ageing cars out there that will soon need to be junked and replaced…

    " Vehicle sales averaged 16.6mn during the 2000s business expansion and plunged to the 9 million unit zone at the low point of the Great Recession in February 2009.

    " From the period beginning in the summer 2009 through summer 2011, sales recovered in haphazard fashion, struggling to exceed the “replacement rate” – roughly 13.0 million units at an annual rate – with any consistency (the “cash-for-clunkers” program of August 2009 provided a short-lived respite, but was rapidly “paid for” by weaker sales in subsequent months).

    " Sales broke into new “lofty” (by recent standards) territory recently, averaging 14.5mn units in the first quarter of 2012, after a 13.5mn average pace in the fourth quarter of 2011. The first quarter sturdiness looks particularly impressive as demand accelerated right into the teeth of a surge in gasoline prices.

    <img src="">

    "The economists note that some of the first-quarter gains might be down to the mild winter, but the subsequent “correction” won’t be nearly enough to offset the underlying trend.

    "And as for how big a chunk cars are now taking out of personal income…

    " Exhibit 3 shows consumer spending on motor vehicles and parts as a percentage of disposable personal income (DPI) going back to 1960. Recession periods are shaded. During the Great Recession, this ratio plunged to historic lows – about 2.1%. It has since regained some of the lost ground, moving up to 2.7%. But even with the recent rebound, the ratio is only getting back to the previous worst levels of the last half century – the recession trough of the early 1980s. And the current level still stands considerably below its long-term average of 3.5%.

    <img src="">

    "Related links:
    Pent-up demand, charted – FT Alphaville
    US auto assemblies have gone parabolic – Modeled Behavior
    US consumer: not so “unsustainable” now, am I? – FT Alphaville
  2. and to think that if we had elected a republican president the car industry in the us probably would have gone out of business.
  3. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    And the rise in unit "sales" (which is just a dealer transfer here) coincides with the highest channel stuffing (inventories) in the series. A 7% rise over the previous record.

  4. Lucrum


    True free thinkers think no such thing, only Obama loons.
  5. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    I cannot see his post (apart from what you quoted). What brilliant explanation does he give to back up his commentary?
  6. Lucrum


    He didn't even give a stupid explanation, let alone a brilliant one.
  7. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    Ah, of course not.
  8. Ricter


    Those are retail sales being reported, Tsing. The so-called "channel stuffing" you're relying on to back up your pessimism is actually manufacturing responding to projected sales and inventory requirements. Looks like they've been doing their jobs well, they've been "channel stuffing" for two quarters now.
  9. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    Can you show me the source of the number in the FT blog you're posting? I'm particularly interested in where that is a retail sales number. I'd like to read the direct report.

    Also, just because I look for real data and numbers, doesn't make me a pessimist. It just makes me a realist who doesn't drink the kool-aid like yourself.
  10. Ricter


    No need to get hung up in there when we can go get a second opinion. How about Autonation's latest retail sales report? +12% yoy.
    #10     May 25, 2012