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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Drop Sharply
by Tom Moeller   June 1, 2011

Lower consumer confidence can quickly translate into less spending. That seems to have been the case during May. Consumer Confidence dropped 7.9% last month according to the Conference Board. Today's news is that unit sales of light vehicles dropped 10.5% last month to 11.79M units (SAAR) after the 0.5% uptick during April. The Consensus expectation was for sales of 12.8M, according to the Bloomberg survey. (Seasonal adjustment of these figures is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.)

Sales of autos fell hardest by 15.4% m/m to 5.77M. Domestic sales slipped 16.4% to 3.95M and sales of imports fell 13.3% to 1.82M.

Sales of less fuel efficient light trucks declined 5.1% m/m to 6.02M. Domestic model sales fell 4.5% to 5.14M while imports dropped 8.1% to 0.88M, the lowest level since June of last year.

Imports' share of the U.S. light vehicle market slipped to 22.9%. (Imported vehicles are those produced outside the United States.) Imports' share of the U.S. car market rose to 31.6% versus the record 35.0% for all of 2010. Imports' share of the light truck market fell to 14.7% versus 19.7% in 2009.

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

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) May Apr Mar Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Total 11.79 13.17 13.11 1.3% 11.58 10.38 13.22
 Autos 5.77 6.83 6.97 1.6 5.78 5.45 6.76
  Domestic 3.95 4.73 4.77 3.2 3.78 3.56 4.44
  Imported 1.82 2.10 2.20 -1.7 2.02 1.89 2.32
 Light Trucks 6.02 6.34 6.14 1.0 5.80 4.93 6.46
  Domestic 5.14 5.38 5.10 1.1 4.84 3.96 5.28
  Imported 0.88 0.96 1.05 0.2 0.96 0.97 1.18
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