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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Fall To Lowest This Year
by Tom Moeller  June 1, 2012

It was a further give-back from last year's strength. Unit sales of light motor vehicles during May fell 4.4% from April to 13.78M (SAAR), according to Autodata Corporation. Sales have fallen meaningfully in two of the last three months to the lowest level since December. Nevertheless, sales were up 17.5% y/y. The latest was short of the Consensus estimate for 14.4M sales, according to Bloomberg.

Auto sales dropped 8.2% m/m (+18.7% y/y) to 6.86M. Domestic car sales fell 6.1% to 4.66M (+19.8% y/y) and imports fell 12.2% (+16.5% y/y) to 2.20M. Light truck sales slipped 0.4% (+16.3% y/y) to 6.92M. Domestic truck purchases fell 0.7% (+17.3% y/y) to 5.92M while sales of imported light trucks rose 0.9% (10.9% y/y) to 0.99M.

Imports' share of the U.S. light vehicle market slipped to 23.2% in May, Down slightly from twelve months earlier. (Imported vehicles are those produced outside the United States.) That share was, however, down from its peak of 29.9% in Q1'09. The lower foreign exchange value of the dollar played a role as it made imports relatively more expensive. Imports' share of the U.S. car market fell m/m to 32.0%, its lowest in nine months, and was down from its 38.1% peak. Imports' share of the light truck market ticked up to 14.4% last month, down from its 23.9% peak in early '09.

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 % 2011 2010 2009
Total 13.78 14.42 14.37 17.5 12.78 11.58 10.38
 Autos 6.86 7.47 7.64 18.7 6.24 5.79 5.45
  Domestic 4.66 4.96 5.14 19.8 4.22 3.78 3.56
  Imported 2.20 2.50 2.50 16.5 2.02 2.00 1.89
 Light Trucks 6.92 6.95 6.73 16.3 6.54 5.79 4.93
  Domestic 5.92 5.96 5.72 17.3 5.55 4.84 3.96
  Imported 0.99 0.99 1.01 10.9 1.00 0.96 0.97
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