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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Led Higher By Truck Rebound
by Tom Moeller July 5, 2005

US sales of light vehicles in June recovered all of recent months' weakness and rose to the highest level in nearly four years, according to the Autodata Corporation. At 17.53M, sales rose 5.2% from May and rose 13.8% versus a depressed level one year ago.

Sales of light trucks surged 11.9% m/m to the highest level since 2001. The gain lifted the average level of truck sales so far this year 1.6% versus the first six months of 2004. Sales of US made trucks were notably strong, rising 13.2% m/m and 25.1% y/y. Domestics account for 88% of total light truck sales in the US.

Despite the drag on truck sales from higher gasoline prices, Bureau of Labor Statistics' data indicates that truck prices firmed this year through May versus deflation from 2002 to 2004. Gasoline prices rose to an average $2.22 per gallon (15.3% y/y) during the latest week.

Car sales fell for the second consecutive month in June and for the fourth month this year. The 2.9% m/m decline left the average level of car sales 1.6% above last year.

Imports' share of the US market for new vehicles fell sharply to 19.6% in June versus 20.2 during the first five months of 2005.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) June May Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Total 17.53 16.67 13.8% 16.88 16.63 16.81
  Autos 7.31 7.53 3.9% 7.49 7.62 8.07
  Trucks 10.22 9.14 22.1% 9.39 9.01 8.74
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