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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Near Cycle High
by Tom Moeller December, 1 2011

Unit sales of light vehicles during November rose to 13.63M. The figure was the highest in more than two years and beat the Consensus estimate for 13.4M sales, according to Bloomberg. For Q4'11 so far, sales have risen 7.7% from Q3. That compares to the estimated 0.5% rise in real PCE for motor vehicles in the latest GDP release.

The overall gain again was led by autos which rose 3.6% m/m to 6.66M units. That was the highest level since April. Sales of imported autos rose 6.5% to 2.30M, their highest since August, 2009. Domestic car sales rose 2.1% to 4.36M but still were down from the April high. Sales of light trucks rose 2.2% in November to 6.97M and made up virtually all of the prior month's decline. Domestic model sales rose 2.3% to 5.98M while sales of imported light trucks rose 1.4% to 1.00M.

Imports' share of the U.S. light vehicle market again rose slightly to 24.2%. (Imported vehicles are those produced outside the United States.) Imports' share of the U.S. car market rose m/m to 34.6% versus the record 34.7% for all of 2009. Imports' share of the light truck market slipped to 14.3% versus 19.7% in 2009.

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

The Fed's latest Beige Book covering regional economic conditions can be found here.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Nov Oct Sep Y/Y % 2010 2009 2008
Total 13.63 13.26 13.10 11.0 11.58 10.38 13.22
 Autos 6.66 6.43 6.07 12.2 5.79 5.45 6.76
  Domestic 4.36 4.27 4.07 14.7 3.78 3.56 4.44
  Imported 2.30 2.16 1.99 7.8 2.00 1.89 2.32
 Light Trucks 6.97 6.83 7.03 9.9 5.79 4.93 6.46
  Domestic 5.98 5.84 5.97 13.0 4.84 3.96 5.28
  Imported 1.00 0.98 1.06 -5.8 0.96 0.97 1.18
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