Car Sales Up, but for How Long?

August auto sales provided the strongest signal of an economic rebound that we’ve seen yet. But August is so yesterday.

In terms of U.S. sales of cars manufactured in North America, this was the best August since 2006.

Sales of light trucks (which includes the SUV category) were less impressive– up 17% from July, but down 18% from August 2008.

But imported light trucks were another story, up 39% from July and up 14% from August 2008.

And imported cars saw their best August since I’ve been collecting these data.

“But the real question,” notes Jesse Toprak, vice president for TrueCar.com, “is what will happen when this adrenaline shot [from Cash for Clunkers] wears off in September?”

An earlier report from MarketWatch had this sobering answer from Edmunds.com Senior Analyst David Tompkins: current purchase intent is down 50 percent from the Cash for Clunkers peak, and down 11 percent from the June average.

Car sales up, but for how long?

Graphs: Wardsauto.com

About James D. Hamilton 244 Articles

James D. Hamilton is Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego.

Visit: Econbrowser

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