The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales (SAAR) for September will be 8.8 million units. Last year when the economy was unravelling September’s SAAR was 12.5 million. In February, “the darkest month of the recession,” SAAR was 9.1 million.
Just as Cash-for-Clunkers goosed auto sales numbers in August, it’s crushing September’s sales numbers. Without that juicy government rebate, fewer people are interested in buying a car. While this is a mini trend, it’s a good reminder for the economy at large. Who knows what will happen to our supposed recovery when (or if) the government stimulus runs out, and the government takes banks off of life support.
Edmunds also points out that in a post-Clunkers economy profits for dealers are slipping back to where they were. Dealers were able to charge more for cars during cash-for-clunkers, since people were so happy to get a big rebate check they didn’t really haggle much. After Clunkers, inventories were tight, so prices rose.
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