Prepare yourself for an increasing number of „good news“ along the following lines:
„October U.S. auto sales should be down about 6 percent from a year ago, marking the first single-digit monthly decline since May 2008, industry forecasting firm J.D. Power and Associates said on Friday.” Glad tidings, brought to you by Reuters.
Times must be really bad when single digit declines are feted as an improvement.
In reality, things stay as bad as they have been all year. In September 2008, the bottom fell out of the light vehicle market. From now on out, monthly sales will be compared to hell.
September 2008 sales were 27 percent below September 2007 sales. October 2008 sales were 32 percent below October 2007 sales. Anything compared to that will look like growth. Hopefully.
J.D. Power can’t ignore that fact, but paints it in rosy colors: “While year-over-year comparisons benefit from a low selling base in October 2008, improvements in consumer confidence and credit are propelling the return to positive sales gains relative to last year,” said Power’s Gary Dilts. Positive sales gains relative to last year? Where? When?
Positive sales gains relative to last year are just around the corner.
TTAC is prognosticating that in January 2010, a huge turn-around will be feted. Why? January 2010 will be compared to the all-time nuclear winter type January 2009, when sales were a dismal 656,881 units. We are equally prognosticating that February 2010 will even be better. February 2010 compares with a February 2009 when light vehicle sales had cratered by 41 percent.
The Seasonally Adjusted Average Rate (SAAR) paints a more precise (and horrendous) picture. SAAR was below 10m for most of the year. It jumped to 13.7m in August 2009, with a kick in the butt by Cash-for-Clunkers. When the amphetamine wore off, SAAR was at 9.5m again in September. The way things stand, America will be lucky if the year will end a tad above 10m light vehicles sold.
Want really good news? Robert Farago had prognosticated (and wagered) that the year will end with just 8.5m cars sold. Prepare yourself for this headline:
”Car sales improve 17 percent over Farago forcast!”