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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Approach Recovery High
by Tom Moeller  September 5, 2012

Car shoppers were busy last month. Unit sales of light motor vehicles during August gained 3.1% m/m (16.6% y/y) to 14.52M (SAAR) according to the Autodata Corporation. The gain recouped July's drop and raised sales to their highest since March 2008. The latest beat the Consensus estimate for 14.2M sales, according to Bloomberg.

Auto sales increased 3.5% m/m (24.9% y/y) to 7.38M. Domestic car sales gained 5.9% to 5.30M (29.2% y/y) while imports fell 2.2% (+15.2% y/y) to 2.08M. Light truck sales rose 2.7% (9.1% y/y) to 7.14M. Domestic truck purchases jumped 4.4% (13.0% y/y) to 6.28M but sales of imported light trucks fell another 8.5% (-13.0% y/y) to 0.86M, the lowest level since February 2010.

Imports' share of the U.S. light vehicle market fell to 20.2% in August and was 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 fell to 28.1%, its lowest since 2006, and was down from its 37.8% monthly peak in 2010. Imports' share of the light truck market fell to 12.0% last month, half 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) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total 14.52 14.09 14.38 16.6 12.83 11.58 10.38
 Autos 7.38 7.13 7.25 24.9 6.29 5.79 5.45
  Domestic 5.30 5.01 5.10 29.2 4.26 3.78 3.56
  Imported 2.08 2.12 2.15 15.2 2.03 2.00 1.89
 Light Trucks 7.14 6.95 7.13 9.1 6.54 5.79 4.93
  Domestic 6.28 6.02 6.17 13.0 5.54 4.84 3.96
  Imported 0.86 0.94 0.96 -13.0 1.00 0.96 0.97
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