By on March 2, 2012



Rank Analyst  GM Ford  Chrysler  SAAR SAAR Diff OEM Diff Overall
1 Jessica Caldwell ( -5.0% 18.0% 32.0% 14.4 4.64% 18.15% 22.79%
2 Brian Johnson (Barclays Capital) -3.6% 7.1% 32.0% 14.3 5.30% 20.34% 25.64%
3 Jesse Toprak ( -6.1% 14.0% 27.0% 14.3 5.30% 20.94% 26.24%
4 Patrick Archambault (Goldman Sachs) -2.6% 11.0% 26.0% 14.3 5.30% 21.44% 26.74%
5 Peter Nesvold (Jefferies) -5.9% 13.0% 27.0% 14.2 5.96% 21.74% 27.70%
6 Emmanuel Rosner (CLSA) -3.9% 5.6% 25.0% 14.5 3.97% 29.14% 33.12%
7 Joseph Spak (RBC) -5.2% 8.0% 24.0% 14.1 6.62% 29.04% 35.67%
8 Rod Lache (Deutsche Bank) -4.0% 8.7% 22.0% 14.1 6.62% 29.14% 35.77%
9 Alec Gutierrez (Kelley Blue Book) -5.8% 5.6% 25.0% 13.8 8.61% 31.04% 39.65%
10 Chris Ceraso (Credit Suisse) -5.6% 3.4% 22.0% 14.1 6.62% 36.04% 42.67%
11 Adam Jonas (Morgan Stanley) NA  NA   NA 14.3 5.30% 300.00% 305.30%
12 Matthew Stover (Guggenheim)  NA  NA   NA 14.3 5.30% 300.00% 305.30%
13 Himanshu Patel (JPMorgan)  NA  NA   NA 14.2 5.96% 300.00% 305.96%
14 Itay Michaeli (Citigroup) NA  NA   NA 14.2 5.96% 300.00% 305.96%
15 Alan Baum (Baum & Associates)  NA  NA   NA 14.0 7.28% 300.00% 307.28%
16 Jeff Schuster (LMC Automotive) NA  NA   NA 14.0 7.28% 300.00% 307.28%
17 George Magliano (IHS Automotive) NA  NA   NA 13.8 8.61% 300.00% 308.61%
Average -4.8% 9.4% 26.0% 14.2
Actual 1.1% 14.3% 40.4% 15.1


The strong February was good news for the car industry, bad news for the analysts. Even the most optimistic prognosis could not withstand the mad February rush to buying cars.

February ended with a Seasonally Adjusted Average Rate (SAAR) of 15.1 million, something the world had not seen since carmageddon. Even the most optimistic analyst (and the winner of the February round of Grade The Analysts) would predict only 14.4 million.

GM had a big minus sign in front of every estimation. It came in with a 1 percent gain. Chrysler sales were estimated to grow “only” 26 percent. They grew 40.4 percent. Even with Ford, the augurs were too cautious.

As any racer will tell you: In a race where everybody is confused, the least confused wins. Despite not calling anything right, Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds wins by coming slightly closer to the truth than anyone else. Nevertheless: 22.79% deviation, that is the worst win in Grade The Analyst history.

While we are at it, we welcome three new analysts, Emmanual Rosner, Chris Ceraso, And Matthew Stover. We are pleased that two out of three FNGs decided to go whole hog and to provide estimates not just for the SAAR, but for all Detroit companies. It’s the only way to win this game. In racing, you don’t get points for not racing either.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

6 Comments on “Grade The Analysts: Caldwell Wins Race Against 15.1 Million...”

  • avatar

    Am I the only one who’s getting tired of this SAAR horse race? Every month, we’re trying to predict what the year end average is going to be. Yeah, everybody was too conservative for February. And who knows how off or on they’ll be in March? Or April.

    This whole SAAR thing is like presidential candidate polling. Lots of absolutely useless information (after all, only the primary itself counts) just to generate headlines. SAAR is the same way. The only figure that means anything is the actual end-of-the-year number. Everything else is just masturbation to generate copy.

    • 0 avatar

      Who wants to watch just the last out of a baseball game? The final basketball shot at the buzzer? the photo finish at a horse race? Some of us are into the thrill of the chase.

    • 0 avatar

      what’s so special about a year?

      why does the number of autos sold in one revolution around the sun matter, but not the revolution around the sun between zodiac signs?

  • avatar

    The bigger question is: is this jump in SAAR pointing to a trend, or is this just a blip in the radar?

    Seems like with employment still weak and housing still down, car sales should remain low. But what’s the explanation for the jump in February? And if SAAR continues to grow, why?

    • 0 avatar

      My take is that people have been keeping cars longer for a good 5 years. It may be cheaper to fix an older car, but at some point the scale and expense of the repair isn’t worth it. The high cost and limited selection of used cars probably induces buyers to visit a new car showroom. OTOH, those with a late model used car that doesn’t fit their needs can benefit from higher trade-in value and a more fuel efficient replacement, with warranty protection against costly repairs.

  • avatar
    Lynn E.

    I am reading “Thinking Fast & Slow” by Kalneman and what I am learning is how bad “experts” in all fields are at making predictions.

    The worst predictors seem to be chief financial officers so keep a watch on where your retirement funds are.

    Thank you for these monthly prediction comparisons.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • EBFlex: 6/21/business/gas-tax-holiday- biden/index.html
  • EBFlex: You realize when you call me comrade you’re calling yourself comrade right? Sit down son.
  • Jeff S: Comrade EBFlex who can even politicize a simple discussion of what to have for dinner.
  • Jeff S: @DenverMike–Didn’t think EBFlex liked vehicles I just thought he was some political hack...
  • bullnuke: UPDATE: The incident referred to by Ol Shel occurred in in a Chicago, Illinois, suburb. The 2nd Amendment...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber