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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Continue A Sideways Movement
by Tom Moeller July 2, 2010

Up for a month or two then down for a month or two. That's been the pattern of U.S. unit sales of light vehicles since last Fall and it's left sales little changed from their November '09 level. For June, total light vehicle sales totaled 11.08M units (SAAR) versus 11.63M in May. Nevertheless, sales remained up by nearly one-quarter from the recession low in February '09. June 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 7.2% from May to 8.28M. Sales of fuel efficient cars fell 4.6% to 3.62M (+10.2% y/y) after a 0.2% May uptick. Light truck sales reversed all their May rise with a 9.1% decline to 4.67M (+23.5% y/y). Imported light vehicle sales went the other way with a 3.3% increase to 2.80M after a 0.2% May uptick. Sales of imported autos rose 3.5% to 1.89M (7.3% y/y) after the 0.1% May increase while light truck sales rose 2.7% to 0.90M (+2.6% y/y).

Overall, import's share of the U.S. light vehicle market improved during June to 25.2%. 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 34.4%, near the 34.8% for all of 2009 but down from the June '08 peak of 37.2%. Imports' share of the light truck market rose m/m to 16.2% but remained below the 19.6% during all of last year.

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

What is the effect of financial stress on economic activity from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is available here.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) June May April June Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Total 11.08 11.63 11.21 14.2% 10.37 13.22 16.16
  Autos 5.51 5.62 5.61 9.2 5.46 6.76 7.58
    Domestic 3.62 3.79 3.78 10.2 3.56 4.44 5.06
    Imported 1.89 1.83 1.83 7.3 1.90 2.32 2.52
  Light Trucks 5.57 6.01 5.60 19.5 4.91 6.46 8.60
    Domestic 4.67 5.13 4.72 23.5 3.95 5.28 7.10
    Imported 0.90 0.88 0.88 2.6 0.96 1.18 1.47
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