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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Recover
by Tom Moeller April 2, 2010

Making up sales which earlier had suffered from "special" factors, U.S. unit sales of  light vehicles during March jumped to 11.78M units (SAAR) from 10.38M in February. The latest was the highest level since last August when aggressive sales promotions lifted sales. March sales fell slightly short of Consensus expectations for 12.0M. (Seasonal adjustment of these figures is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).

Sales of domestically  produced vehicles jumped 14.0% last month to 8.79M units (28.5% y/y) from 7.71M in February. Sales of fuel efficient cars rose 11.8% for the month (28.8% y/y) while light truck sales also posted a solid 16.0% m/m gain (28.3% y/y). Imported light vehicle sales recovered 12.0% (3.7% y/y) after a sharp February decline, due in part to the recall of some Toyota models. With a 5.9% gain, sales of imported autos recovered all of the February loss while light truck sales were stronger with a m/m gain of 24.9%, though just 1.7% y/y.

Overall, import's share of the U.S. light vehicle market during February fell to 25.4%. The share has been declining erratically from its high of 30.5% in February '09 and from 27.6% during all of last year. (Imported vehicles are those produced outside the United States.) Imports' share of the U.S. car market fell m/m to 31.8% and that was below 34.8% during 2009. Imports' share of the light truck market improved to 18.7% but remained below the 19.6% last year.

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

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) March February January March Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Total 11.78 10.38 10.78 21.2% 10.37 13.22 16.16
  Autos 6.04 5.49 5.70 20.1 5.46 6.76 7.58
    Domestic 4.12 3.68 3.78 28.8 3.56 4.44 5.06
    Imported 1.92 1.81 1.92 4.8 1.90 2.32 2.52
  Light Trucks 5.74 4.88 5.08 22.4 4.91 6.46 8.60
    Domestic 4.67 4.03 4.11 28.3 3.95 5.28 7.10
    Imported 1.07 0.86 0.97 1.7 0.96 1.18 1.47
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