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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Truck Sales Crimped by Higher Gasoline Prices
by Tom Moeller May 4, 2005

Sales of light vehicles in April managed to rise 3.7% versus March despite a meager 1.6% gain in sales of light trucks. According to Autodata Corporation total light vehicle sales rose to 17.46M.

Gasoline prices averaged a record $2.24 per gallon last month, up 25% versus a year earlier. In May, gasoline have backed off somewhat from last month's weekly high of $2.28 but the gain versus last year still is 21%.

The rise in sales of light trucks to 9.32M left the average of sales so far this year down 3.5% versus 9.06M during all of 2004. Sales of domestically made trucks rose 1.0% m/m (0.4% y/y) but sales of imported trucks jumped 5.6% (8.4% y/y).

Total auto sales rose 6.1% last month and the gain pulled the average level this year up 2.1% versus last.

Imports' share of the US market for new vehicles rose to 20.6% in April and has averaged 20.2% this year versus 19.9% in 2004.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) April March Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total 17.46 16.85 5.0% 16.88 16.63 16.81
  Autos 8.14 7.68 9.6% 7.49 7.62 8.07
  Trucks 9.32 9.17 1.4% 9.39 9.01 8.74
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