U.S. Vehicle Sales (April 2024)

Andrew Foran, Economist | 416-350-8927

Date Published: May 2, 2024

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U.S. vehicle sales grew modestly in April

  • U.S. vehicle sales rose 1.2% month-on-month (m/m) to 15.7 million (annualized) units in April – in-line with consensus expectations.
  • Unadjusted sales volumes were 1.31 million units or 3.3% below year-ago levels. However, the average daily selling rate (DSR) was 52,540 – calculated over 25 days – or 0.6% above April 2023's 52,225 daily rate calculated over 26 days.
  • Passenger vehicle sales fell 9.0% year-on-year (y/y) while sales of light-trucks were down 1.7% y/y. Light-trucks accounted for 80% of last month's sales, marginally lower than its share in April 2023.   

Key Implications

  • Light vehicle sales increased in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, although raw volumes were down year-on-year due to April having one fewer selling day than last year. The rebound in light vehicle sales has moderated over the past few months, as affordability challenges have skewed aggregate demand towards lower-price models. Average transaction prices were down 2.7% y/y in March, but elevated financing costs remain a considerable barrier for many buyers.
  • Interest rates rose in April and returned close to their current cycle peak as persistent inflation pressures in the first quarter pushed back the expected timeline for the start of Federal Reserve rate cuts. Although we expect vehicle sales to continue to rise this year, with market expectations for the first cut now fully priced in for the fourth quarter, elevated financing costs are expected to remain a headwind to vehicle sales moving forward.