Not a good month for the domestic automakers.
Domestically manufactured cars sold at the same pace in June as in the same month last year. Given the long-run declining trend, that may be as good as we might hope for in the current environment.
However, domestic light trucks were down 10% from the previous year.
Some news reports played this story as the ongoing success of imports over domestics, spurred by sales incentives from Japanese automakers. There is certainly some truth to that perspective:
However, with domestic light truck sales down nearly 60,000 units and truck imports up just over 10,000, it’s more accurate to describe this as a drop in big-vehicle sales overall. GM reported a
23 percent drop in Chevrolet full-sized pickups and 60 percent decline in their TrailBlazer SUV. High gas prices and a weak construction sector look like a more important part of the June story than sales incentives from the Japanese automakers.
Elsewhere, Calculated Risk has estimated second-quarter growth of personal consumption expenditures on the basis of the first two months currently available. That doesn’t give a perfect forecast, but suggests pretty convincingly we’re going to see a weaker contribution of consumption to 2007:Q2 GDP growth than we had in the first quarter. The ailing domestic auto sales and other June sales indicators give further confirmation of significantly weaker second-quarter consumption growth.