Let’s Call First Three Quarters of 2018 Auto Sales ‘Not Bad’

IHS Markit had expected 2018 U.S. car and light truck sales to end up at 17 million, about half a million short of 2016’s record. But after September’s seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17 million, the analysis firm is increasing that number.

How? It’s statistics. “Seasonally adjusted” means just that.

“This September bounce back, and expectations that the pace of sales in the fourth quarter should not move drastically from this level will likely push full-year light vehicle sales volume to 17.1 million units in total,” says Christopher Hopson, manager of IHS Markit’s North America light vehicle forecasting.

Seasonal adjustments mean that July and August historically are very strong sales months as consumers take advantage of warm weather and end-of-model-year prices, while September traditionally is a transitional month as new model-year cars and trucks arrive.

Even though Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Sales, American Honda, and Nissan North America saw

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