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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Down, Light Truck Sales Down Hard
by Tom Moeller June 2, 2006

US light vehicle sales during May fell 3.9% m/m to 16.10M units according to the Autodata Corporation. The decline exceeded Consensus expectations for sales of 16.5M units and was to the lowest level since last November.

Overall light truck sales fell 4.9% (-9.6% y/y) last month. Sales of imported light trucks gave back some of the indication of holding up perhaps apparent in April and fell 10.6% m/m (+6.1% y/y). For the fourth month this year, sales of domestic trucks fell sharply. A 3.8% (-11.9% y/y) decline dropped sales to the lowest level since a very weak November.

Some relief from the pressure on sales of relatively fuel in-efficient trucks may have been apparent in the modest three cent decline in retail gasoline prices last week to $2.87 per gallon.

Auto sales during May slipped 2.7% (+3.9% y/y) led by a 5.4% (-2.9% y/y) fall in domestic car sales. Sales of imported autos rose 2.9% (20.1% y/y).

Imports' share of the US light vehicle market surged to another record level of 24.4% versus 20.4% during all of last year.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) May April Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total 16.10 16.74 -3.5% 16.92 16.87 16.63
  Autos 7.79 8.00 3.9% 7.65 7.49 7.62
  Trucks 8.31 8.74 -9.6% 9.27 9.37 9.01
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