US New Vehicle Sales For March Smashed Expectations

As I previewed, US new vehicle sales rebounded sharply in March. What is more surprising is that they rose 13.3% MoM, reaching 17.75 million SAAR (highest since December 2017) and largely exceeding expectations of 16.40 million SAAR (Bloomberg consensus). In addition, Wards report highlighted that “If fleet demand – and enough vehicles were available – even was remotely back up to pre-Covid levels, March’s results would have reached an 18 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual rate.

US New Vehicle Sales March 2021

Such an upward surprise compared to expectations (+8.2%) also suggests that demand was very strong at the end of the month after new stimulus checks hit bank accounts. In this context, the auto sector will contribute positively to March retail sales that will be released on April 15th. Other proxies, such as aggregated credit and debit card spending data or restaurant bookings also pointed to a strong increase in consumer activity in late March.

Coupled with other high-frequency indicators, these figures reinforce my view that US GDP can fully recover from Covid-19 by the end of 1Q21 and it could easily top 2021 expectations (recently revised upward to +5.7% according to Bloomberg consensus).


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