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Economy in Brief

August U.S. Vehicle Sales Reversed July's Gain
by Tom Moeller September 8, 2006

US light vehicle sales last month reversed all of July's revised gain and fell 6.5% to 16.07M units, according to the Autodata Corporation. During the first eight months of this year vehicle sales averaged 16.63M, down 4.3% from the first eight months of 2005.

Overall light truck sales dropped 6.6% last month. Higher gasoline prices have prompted the 9.7% decline in light truck sales year to date versus the first eight months of last year.

Sales of the relatively fuel efficient imported light trucks posted a large 11.6% (+4.2% y/y) decline last month but remained up 7.5% year to date. Domestic truck sales fell 5.7% and reversed a July gain (-9.9% y/y). During the first eight months of this year domestic light truck sales fell 12.2% from the first eight months of 2005 to an average of 7.47M.

Auto sales fell 6.4% (-0.7% y/y) in August and fully reversed the July increase. Domestic car sales fell 4.5% (-5.9% y/y) and year to date sales were down 0.5% versus last year. Sales of imported autos also reversed the July gain with a 10.1% (+11.8% y/y) but year to date are up 10.0%.

Imports garnered 23.5% of the US light vehicle market during August, down slightly from the July monthly record. Last year, imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market totaled 20.4%

Minutes of the Federal Reserve Board's discount rate meetings from July 17 through August 7, 2006 can be found here.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) August July Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Total 16.06 17.19 -4.7% 16.96 16.87 16.63
  Autos 7.69 8.22 -0.7% 7.65 7.49 7.62
  Trucks 8.37 8.96 -8.1% 9.32 9.37 9.01
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