Update 4 3:42 PM: We now have all 16 major OEMs reported and with that data can be sure that US auto sales missed in April. Full calculations from the Bureau of Economic Analysis won’t be out for another couple of weeks but Ward’s Auto estimated a 16.81mm SAAR sales pace for the month, slightly more optimistic than our 16.78mm SAAR final estimate. AutoData was also more optimistic, tracking 16.88mm SAAR. Regardless, that’s the second month in a row below the 17mm sales pace and a clear miss no matter which estimate you use. With autos coming in weak in April, keep in mind that seasonality in GDP numbers (consumption is typically weaker in Q1 than other months, which we discussed last night in The Closer, link) may not be the only reason for slower consumer spending. Autos and parts consumption subtracted 0.42% off the total QoQ SAAR growth rate in Q1, and the numbers for April don’t suggest a major improvement on that figure for Q2.
Update 3 1:13 PM: A series of smaller OEMs have reported since our last update at and we’ve gotten another series of misses: Honda and Mercedes both saw NSA sales declines of around 7%, while tiny Volvo (only about 1/2 of 1 percent of total US auto market share by units) had a solid report up 15.4% YoY on an unadjusted basis. The overall sales pace is currently tracking about 16.67mm SAAR versus 17.10mm expected, with 84% of the industry reported on a unit volume basis.
Update 2 11:04 AM: Since Nissan’s report, we’ve also gotten reports from Volkswagen and Mazda. As it continues to recover from the diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen has actually turned in some decent sales growth figures in recent months. It’s got the best sales growth of any auto OEM that’s reported April numbers so far. Mazda on the other hand has been unable to buck the broader industry trend of weaker growth. Following their reports, our tracker sits just below 16.70mm SAAR, suggesting a sales miss of 400,000 units (at an annual pace) in April.
Update 1 9:57 AM: We’ve now gotten reports from Fiat-Chrysler and Nissan to add to the first three major OEMs to report. That brings total reported market share to 68% and suggests an even narrower chance of sales meeting estimates this month despite a more upbeat sales pace from Nissan. We’re currently tracking a sales pace of 16.77mm SAAR versus 17.10mm SAAR expected and will continue to update our tracker as additional estimates come in throughout the day.
It’s still very early, with only 3 companies reporting, but about 47% of the US auto market’s volume currently in our tracking is suggesting that sales will miss for the month. Economists were estimating a 17.10mm SAAR sales pace for the month, but results from Ford, Toyota, and GM (all of which missed estimates) suggest that there’s a low probability the industry can beat that estimate. GM’s miss was biggest (-5.8% NSA YoY versus -2.0% estimated), but Toyota (-4.4% versus -2.2% estimated) and Ford (-7.1% versus -4.7% estimated) were also pretty weak. We’ll continue to update estimates throughout the day.