Steel Markets

Auto Sales Chilled by Cold and Shutdown

Written by Sandy Williams

Auto sales dipped in January as cold weather and the government shutdown chilled consumer demand. Automotive News estimated the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate at 16.9 million, down from 17.72 million in December and 17.22 million in January 2018.

Light trucks and SUVs continued to carry sales, inching up 0.3 percent while sales of cars fell 4 percent.

“Record cold weather during the last week of January likely had a negative impact on sales. However, it was not just the weather. We also believe the government shutdown had an impact, from delayed purchases by furloughed workers to a more general feeling of uncertainty in the market,” Charlie Chesbrough, Senior Economist for Cox Automotive told Forbes.

“January’s sales strength shows car shoppers are still feeling optimistic, even in the midst of the government shutdown and talk of a slowing economy,” wrote Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds’ manager of industry analysis. “But despite this positive start, January is such a slow sales month that it doesn’t carry much weight when it comes to predicting the health of the auto market for the full year.”

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