Auto Sales Outlook: Slower Traffic Ahead (Special Issue)
It is said that a forecaster is only as good as their last forecast. If that is true, the participants in last year’s consensus outlook were very, very good. For example, light vehicle sales in the first third of 2000 were running at a white-hot 18.1 million units. Yet the group forecast that light vehicle sales would moderate significantly from these levels and average a record-setting 17.3 million units, just 0.1 million units more than the actual sales. This accuracy also occurred for a large number of other key statistics. Real gross domestic product (GDP) was forecast to increase by 4.7% in 2000, just below the actual 5.0% growth rate. The unemployment rate was anticipated to average 4.0% for the year, precisely what the rate was for last year. Finally, the Consumer Price Index was expected to increase from 2.2% in 1999 to 3.0% during 2000, which was just below the 3.4% rate for the index that had been affected by energy costs.