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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Down in February
by Tom Moeller March 2, 2006

US light vehicle sales in February retraced all of the January gain and fell 5.8% to 16.61M units, the lowest level since November according to the Autodata Corporation. The decline about matched Consensus expectations for a 16.5M sales rate last month.

The sharp decline in February sales resulted from a 21.1% m/m drop (-0.5% y/y) in US made car sales. It fully retraced the prior month's rise which occurred as automakers "restocked" rental fleets.

A 1.1% (1.2% y/y) rise in sales of domestic trucks recovered a portion of the prior month's sharp drop.

Imported car sales in February recovered most of the prior month's drop and increased 13.5% (1.3% y/y) to 2.17M units while imported truck sales rose a steady 2.6% (7.8% y/y) to a record high of 1.32M units.

Imports' share of the US light vehicle market recovered to 21.0% from the depressed 18.1% during January. Imports' share during all of last year was 20.3%.

Variations in consumer sentiment across demographic groups from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago can be found here.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Feb Jan Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total 16.61 17.64 1.2% 16.92 16.87 16.63
  Autos 7.42 8.56 0.1% 7.65 7.49 7.62
  Trucks 9.20 9.08 2.1% 9.27 9.37 9.01
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