As expected, U.S. New Vehicle Sales Rose to a 6-month high in August. According to Wards data, they increased by 4.6% MoM reaching 15.19M SAAR and beating the Bloomberg consensus of 14.90Me (revised upward from 14.80Me). It was the fourth consecutive monthly rise, however, August’s level remained well below February’s level of 16.83M SAAR (before the virus started hitting the economy).
On a YoY basis, Reuters highlighted that Toyota sales remainder under pressure falling 23% YoY (v -19% in July). The decline reflects “a two-month industrywide shutdown of auto production in the spring to halt the spread of COVID-19, as well as an uncertain economic recovery, weighed on sales.” In the maintime, Hyundai, Mazda, and Subaru all posted declines, but SUVs remain a bright spot among all of the automakers, which explains why, after seaonal adjustment, U.S. sales kept on rising on a MoM basis in August.
The August’s spike is a positive sign in a context where the federal government’s CARES Act programs — which provided financial relief to individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19 — for the most part expired at the end of July. As a result, the auto sector should support August retail sales that will be released on September 16th.