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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Rose in December
by Tom Moeller January 4, 2007

In December, U.S. sales of light vehicles rose 4.4% from the prior month to 16.75M units, according to the Autodata Corporation. The rise was to the highest level since July.

For the full year of 2006, however, vehicle sales fell 2.4% to 16.55M, the lowest level since 1998.

Improved domestic car sales lifted December vehicle sales with an 11.4% (3.8% y/y) gain but for the year domestic auto sales fell 1.4% versus 2005. Sales of imported autos also were strong last month and posted a 6.1% (8.5% y/y) gain and for the year rose 8.7%.

Imported light truck sales also rose 1.9% (19.0% y/y) last month to 1.51M units and for 2006 rose 14.4%.

Domestic light truck sales slipped for the third consecutive month. The 0.5% decline to 7.14M units (-12.4% y/y) still, however, garnered 84% of the U.S. market for light trucks during 2006.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) December November Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Total 16.75 16.04 -2.1% 16.55 16.96 16.87
  Autos 8.09 7.38 5.3% 7.77 7.65 7.49
  Trucks 8.65 8.66 -8.2% 8.78 9.32 9.37
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