Auto sales still a weak spot for the economy, but no big plunge yet.
The move away from the American SUV continues, with the number of domestic light trucks sold last month down 3.4% from the previous year, making 2006 the worst August of the last 4 years. So far, however, it is not as bad as the complete plunge we saw in September and October in the wake of last year’s hurricanes.
August domestic car sales were the lowest of three out of the last four years, though down only 1.1% from August 2005.
This is not going to help a slowing economy, but it is not enough by itself to cause an actual downturn. As with housing, however, one could imagine things turning worse quickly with a change in consumer sentiment.
As in previous months, sales of foreign-made vehicles are still doing reasonably well.