US auto and light truck assemblies remain below 2016 levels
Annualized U.S. assemblies of autos and light trucks rose 0.5% to 11.23 million units in June (seasonally adjusted), but were down 6.6% from prior year. Assemblies have recovered somewhat since March when they were at the lowest level since February 2015. Seasonally adjusted assemblies have been at or above an 11-million unit pace since March 2015, but have only been above a 12-million unit pace once in the last 23 months (June 2016). Our graph is a three-month moving average of seasonally adjusted annualized assemblies. Using this moving average, year-over-year assemblies are down 3.8% and year-over-year change has hovered around or under 0 since April 2016. Each of the last 4 months are lower than any month since May 2016. With sales flat and inventories high, it is not surprising that assemblies are weak.
The auto industry has come a long way since assemblies bottomed out at a 3.6 million-unit annual pace (seasonally adjusted) in January 2009. Average monthly seasonally adjusted assemblies were 11.4 million from January of 2001 through December of 2007, and averaged 11.7 and 11.8 million units in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The 2017 YTD average is 11.3 million.