Graph showing new car sales have a growth spurt in April 2023

New cars sold in March at a much faster pace than analysts at Cox Automotive had expected just last week, but their chief economist said the Fed’s rate hike can brake auto sales and makes a recession more likely.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data released Wednesday showed new cars and light trucks were sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 15.9 million in April, up 11.4% from a year earlier and up 7.2% from March.

On April 25, Cox Automotive had estimated new cars would sell at a 15.1 million SAAR in April, up 2% from 14.8 million in March and up 14% from April 2022 — “a large gain over last year’s supply-constrained level of 14.3 million.”

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Jim DuPlessis

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