How Are Auto Sales Doing These Days?

I’m stuck in the infusion center for the day, so blogging will probably be a little slow today. This has nothing to do with having an IV drip hanging off my arm, and everything to do with being forced to use my tablet’s on-screen keyboard instead of the awesome mechanical switch keyboard connected to my desktop machine.

(Just as I wrote those words, the pharmacy finally delivered the IV bags containing the meds. So I should get out of here around 1 pm, just in time for an East Coast late-day document dump.)

Anyway, I decided to kill some time by checking in on the auto industry to see how it’s doing. First up, here are domestic auto sales:

Down, down, down! Nobody want ordinary cars anymore, not if they’re produced in America, anyway. Now here’s a chart that shows everything: both car and light truck sales (including SUVs), domestic and imported:

Sales reached a high of 18 million in 2016, but have drifted down to 17 million since then. The beginning of 2018 started out weakly, with sales of about 16.5 million vehicles. Part of this might be due to financing. Interest rates are drifting up:

And the total amount being financed is growing:

A few years ago, people were financing $26,000 at 4%. Today it’s more like $30,000 at 5%. Roughly speaking, that’s a difference of $480 per month vs. $570 per month. That’s more than $1,000 per year. Given the sluggish wage growth of the past few years, this makes it hardly surprising that auto and truck sales are sluggish too. It hardly matters if “the economy” is doing well when your personal paycheck isn’t going up but the price of a car is. MAGA.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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