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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales In June Hold A Steady, Sideways Movement
by Tom Moeller July 2, 2009

There's no breaking out from a sideways trend for sales of U.S. light vehicles. Certainly that was the case last month as unit vehicle sales slipped 2.3% during June to 9.69 million units (AR). That followed a 6.4% rise during May. Since February vehicle sales have risen all of 11.7% (3.0% since January) and recouped just a fraction of last year's 35.6% decline from December-to-December. 

Unit sales of U.S. made light vehicles fell 3.7% to 6.99M units and remained near the lowest since 1982 according to the Autodata Corporation and Ward's Automotive News. (Seasonal adjustment of the figures is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). Sales of domestically made light trucks fell 7.3% last month to 3.71M units while auto sales ticked up 0.8% m/m to 3.27M units. Sales of domestic vehicles YTD are down 17.3% following last year's 35.3% flop from December-to-December.

Imported light vehicle sales were a bit firmer and posted a 1.5% m/m June increase. Working the other way versus domestic sales they are up 5.8% year-to-date after the 36.4% 2008 decline. Nevertheless, sales at 2.70M units remained near their lowest level in roughly ten years. June sales of imported autos rose 5.1% and were up by more than one-quarter from the December low while sales of imported light trucks fell 5.3% and gave back most of a May increase. Sales of imported vehicles YTD have increased 5.8% but they more than halved last year Dec./Dec.

Overall, import's share of the U.S. light vehicle market increased to 27.9% last month after reaching 26.3% during all of last year. (Imported vehicles are those produced outside the United States.) Imports' share of the U.S. car market totaled 35.9%, up slightly from the 2008 average, while the share of the light truck market was 18.9%, roughly equal to last year.

The U.S. vehicle sales figures can be found in Haver's USECON database.

A View of the Economic Crisis and the Federal Reserve’s Response is yesterday's speech by Janet L. Yellen, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and it can be found here

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) June May April June Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total 9.69 9.91 9.32 -29.2% 13.17 16.16 16.54
  Autos 5.11 4.99 4.81 -31.9 6.71 7.58 7.77
    Domestic 3.27 3.25 3.11 -30.5 4.42 5.07 5.31
    Imported 1.83 1.74 1.70 -34.3 2.29 2.52 2.45
  Light Trucks 4.58 4.92 4.51 -25.9 6.47 8.60 8.78
    Domestic 3.71 4.01 3.67 -26.5 5.29 7.10 7.42
    Imported 0.87 0.91 0.84 -23.3 1.18 1.47 1.37

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