U.S. Vehicle Sales (April 2023)

Andrew Foran, Economist | 416-350-8927

Date Published: May 3, 2023

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U.S. vehicle sales jumped in April with the start of the spring buying season

  • U.S. vehicle sales rose 7.2% month-on-month (m/m) to 15.9 million (annualized) units in April. This was well above the consensus forecast which called for a more modest gain to 15.1 million.
  • Unadjusted sales volumes were 1.35 million units or 9.0% above year-ago levels. The average daily selling rate was 51,814 – calculated over 26 days – up from April 2022's 45,794 daily rate.
  • Passenger vehicle sales increased 11.1% year-on-year (y/y) while sales of light-trucks ticked up by 8.4% y/y. Light-trucks accounted for 79% of last month's sales, equal to its share of sales in April 2022.   

Key Implications

  • Light vehicle sales in April rose for an eighth consecutive month relative to year-ago levels as the spring buying season kicked off with a bang. Pent-up demand remained alive and well, with sales on the month only 2.6% below April 2019 levels. Despite some modest easing in labor conditions in recent months, job and wage growth through the first quarter of the year has remained robust, partially insulating consumers from still high prices and financing costs.
  • While this upward trend has been facilitated by the rebound in supply levels that began in the second half of last year, inventory fell modestly in April for the first time in nine months, in part due to seasonal factors. This is expected to be a short stall as auto production increases over the coming months on improved supply chain pressures. Increased vehicle availability is expected to continue to support sales moving forward, although demand is expected to slow this year as economic headwinds build.