This was above the consensus forecast of 15.8 million SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate).
This graph shows the historical light vehicle sales from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for August (red, light vehicle sales of 16.02 million SAAR from WardsAuto).
This was the first time the sales rate has been over 16 million since November 2007.
The growth rate will probably slow in 2013 – compared to the previous three years – but this will still be another solid year for the auto industry.
The second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.
Note: dashed line is current estimated sales rate.
Unlike residential investment, auto sales bounced back fairly quickly following the recession and are still a key driver of the recovery. Looking forward, growth will slow for auto sales. If sales average the recent pace for the entire year, total sales will be up about 9% from 2012, not quite double digit but still strong.