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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Remain Firm
by Tom Moeller  August 2, 2012

Car buyers remain motivated to do just that. Reported late yesterday, unit sales of light motor vehicles during July slipped just 2.0% m/m to 14.09M (SAAR) according to Autodata Corporation. The decline followed a 3.0% June gain and left sales up 13.6% y/y. Data back through 2011 was revised modestly due to new seasonal factors. The latest beat Consensus estimate for 14.0M sales, according to Bloomberg.

Auto sales eased 1.6% m/m (+20.9% y/y) to 7.13M. Domestic car sales fell 1.8% to 5.01M (+24.0% y/y) while imports fell 1.1% (+14.1% y/y) to 2.12M. Light truck sales fell 2.5% (+7.0% y/y) to 6.95M. Domestic truck purchases were off 2.5% (+8.3% y/y) at 6.02M and sales of imported light trucks fell 2.4% (-0.8% y/y) to 0.94M.

Imports' share of the U.S. light vehicle market was stable m/m at 21.7% in July but still the lowest since early 2006. (Imported vehicles are those produced outside the United States.) That share was 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 also was stable m/m at 29.8%, its lowest since 2006, and was down from its 37.8% monthly peak in 2010. Imports' share of the light truck market was unchanged at 13.5% 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. 

The Fed's statement following yesterday's FOMC meeting can be found here.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Jul Jun May Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total 14.09 14.38 13.95 13.6 12.83 11.58 10.38
 Autos 7.13 7.25 6.95 20.9 6.29 5.79 5.45
  Domestic 5.01 5.10 4.72 24.0 4.26 3.78 3.56
  Imported 2.12 2.15 2.24 14.1 2.03 2.00 1.89
 Light Trucks 6.95 7.13 7.00 7.0 6.54 5.79 4.93
  Domestic 6.02 6.17 6.00 8.3 5.54 4.84 3.96
  Imported 0.94 0.96 1.00 -0.8 1.00 0.96 0.97
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