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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Up, But Struggle Against Incentives Last Year
by Tom Moeller August 2, 2006

US light vehicle sales in July rose 5.8% m/m to 17.24M units, according to the Autodata Corporation. July sales were the highest since this past January and the figure beat Consensus expectations for sales of 16.6M units.

Despite the latest increase, sales fell 16.8% from July 2005 when the successful "employee pricing" plan was instituted for most car buyers.

Overall light truck sales rose 4.7% last month but a steep 28.7% decline versus July 2005 reflects both the success of last year's sales' incentives and higher gasoline prices.

Domestic truck sales rose 4.3% but fell 32.8% y/y. During the first seven month of this year sales were down 12.2% from the first seven months of 2005. Sales of the relatively fuel efficient imported light trucks rose 7.1% m/m (6.8% y/y). Year to date sales of imported light trucks rose 9.0% from the first seven months of 2005.

Auto sales rose 7.0% (1.9% y/y) in July. Domestic car sales turned in a 5.1% gain but still fell 5.6% from last year. Year to date sales were up 0.3% versus last year. Sales of imported autos, in contrast, surged 10.7% (20.0% y/y). Year to date imported car sales rose 9.9% from last year.

Imports garnered a 24.6% share of the US light vehicle market during July, a monthly record, versus 20.4% during all of last year.

Deficits, Debt and Trust Funds from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) July June Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total 17.24 16.30 -16.8% 16.92 16.87 16.63
  Autos 8.23 7.69 1.9% 7.65 7.49 7.62
  Trucks 9.01 8.61 -28.7% 9.27 9.37 9.01
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