The BEA released their estimate of light vehicle sales for October today. The BEA estimates sales of 12.99 million SAAR in October 2021 (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate), up 6.3% from the September sales rate, and down 20.8% from October 2020.
This graph shows light vehicle sales since 1967 from the BEA. The dashed line is sales for the current month.
The impact of COVID-19 was significant, and April 2020 was the worst month.
After April 2020, sales increased, and were close to sales in 2019 (the year before the pandemic).
This second graph shows the percent of light vehicle sales between passenger cars and trucks / SUVs through October 2021.
Only when oil prices are high, does the trend slow or reverse.
The percent of light trucks and SUVs was at 80.1% in October 2021 – an all time high.
The third graph shows heavy truck sales since 1967 using data from the BEA. The dashed line is the October 2021 seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR).
Heavy truck sales really collapsed during the great recession, falling to a low of 180 thousand SAAR in May 2009. Then heavy truck sales increased to a new all time high of 563 thousand SAAR in September 2019.
Note: “Heavy trucks – trucks more than 14,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.”
Heavy truck sales really declined at the beginning of the pandemic, falling to a low of 299 thousand SAAR in May 2020.