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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Surge To Recovery High
by Tom Moeller  December 3, 2012

Car buyers were out in force last month. Unit sales of light motor vehicles during November jumped 8.7% m/m (14.7% y/y) to 15.54M (SAAR) according to the Autodata Corporation. The latest figure surpassed the Consensus estimate for 14.8M sales, according to Bloomberg.

Auto sales gained 8.0% m/m (21.7% y/y) to 8.04M. Domestic car sales gained 7.4% to 5.55M (28.1% y/y) while imports rose 9.5% (9.4% y/y) to 2.49M. Light truck sales increased 9.4% (8.0% y/y) to 7.50M. Domestic light truck purchases increased 8.5% (9.4% y/y) to 6.49M while sales of imported light trucks rose 15.9% (-12.4% y/y) to 1.00M, which was roughly unchanged y/y.

Imports' share of the U.S. light vehicle market ticked up to 22.5% in November. (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 gained to 31.0% but remained down from its 37.8% monthly peak in 2010. Imports' share of the light truck market increased to 13.4% 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) Nov Oct Sep Y/Y % 2011 2010 2009
Total 15.54 14.29 14.96 14.7 12.83 11.58 10.38
 Autos 8.04 7.44 7.69 21.7 6.29 5.79 5.45
  Domestic 5.55 5.16 5.32 28.1 4.26 3.78 3.56
  Imported 2.49 2.28 2.37 9.4 2.03 2.00 1.89
 Light Trucks 7.50 6.85 7.27 8.0 6.54 5.79 4.93
  Domestic 6.49 5.98 6.30 9.4 5.54 4.84 3.96
  Imported 1.00 0.87 0.97 -0.0 1.00 0.96 0.97
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