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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Slip From High
by Tom Moeller May 4, 2010

Forward momentum behind U.S. unit sales of light vehicles eased during April and sales fell 4.8% to 11.21M units (SAAR) from 11.78M in March. Nevertheless, sales remained up by nearly one-quarter from the recession low. April sales fell slightly short of Consensus expectations for 11.4M. (Seasonal adjustment of these figures is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).

Sales of domestically produced vehicles fell 3.2% last month to 8.50M but gave back just a piece of the 14.0% March gain. Sales of fuel efficient cars fell 8.3% to 3.78M (+22.6% y/y) after the 11.8% March increase. Light truck sales went the other way and rose 1.2% to 4.72M (30.0% y/y). Imported light vehicle sales also fell 9.5% to 2.70M and gave back most of the March rise. Sales of imported autos fell 4.8% to 1.83M after the 5.9% March increase while light truck sales fell 18.0% to 0.88M (+6.5% y/y).

Overall, import's share of the U.S. light vehicle market fell during April to 24.1% its lowest since early 2008. 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 rose m/m to 32.6% but remained below 34.8% during 2009. Imports' share of the light truck market also fell to 15.7% 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) April March February April y/y 2009 2008 2007
Total 11.21 11.78 10.38 21.4% 10.37 13.22 16.16
  Autos 5.61 6.04 5.49 17.5 5.46 6.76 7.58
    Domestic 3.78 4.12 3.68 22.6 3.56 4.44 5.06
    Imported 1.83 1.92 1.81 8.1 1.90 2.32 2.52
  Light Trucks 5.60 5.74 4.88 25.7 4.91 6.46 8.60
    Domestic 4.72 4.67 4.03 30.0 3.95 5.28 7.10
    Imported0 0.88 1.07 0.86 6.5 0.96 1.18 1.47
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