Truckonomics: Truck Sales Shift Into High Gear

by: Mark J. Perry

More than 7 millions light trucks were sold in September, which was the highest monthly sales count for trucks in 3 and-one-half years going all the way back to March of 2008 (see chart above). September truck sales were up by 9.5% compared to August and up by 20.3% compared to last September. Why are truck sales important?

According to AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson:

I've always said, when you want to know when this economy is going to turn, just watch the pickup sales. All those sales are small businesses and entrepreneurs, and when they see the prospect for better business, they're going to go out and finally buy a new pickup truck. So this is a key indicator of what's going on in the U.S. economy. This is small business America saying that the worst is over, I see opportunities in the future, I feel confident enough to go out and buy a new truck.

Pickup trucks are bought by small business entrepreneurs who have their finger on the pulse of the U.S. economy. It's an expression of confidence in future of economy. They don't buy until they see the prospects for business are brighter.

And according to this Associated Press report:

If you want a hint about the economic recovery, follow that truck. Pickups are a kind of rugged indicator of the nation's financial health. When times are good, contractors buy more of them to carry tools around for landscaping and lumber to build homes. Weekend haulers also gravitate to them even though cars get better mileage.

What double-dip?