The July auto sales rate was slightly stronger than initially thought, new government data released today show.
The annual revision to the seasonal factors used in calculating the industry's seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate, or SAAR, increased last month's rate to 15.8 million, according to the Automotive News Data Center. On Thursday, when July sales were reported but before the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released the new seasonal factors, the July rate was 15.67 million.
The adjustment means that sales matched analysts' expectations of 15.8 million instead of falling slightly short, as it first appeared.
The new data reduced June's rate from 15.98 million to 15.91 million. The lower figure still represents the highest SAAR since the end of 2007.
It also erases what had looked to be a conspicuous sales dip in April, the only month in which the SAAR came in at less than 15 million since October. The revised SAAR for April is 15.19 million, rather than 14.91 million.
The government typically issues new seasonal factors each August to reflect changes in consumer behavior and other factors. They account for holidays, weekends, weather and other factors that create predictable sales patterns from one year to the next.
Automotive News will use the revised figures in future stories, but past articles will continue to reflect the SAAR calculated using seasonal factors in effect at that time.