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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Back Away From Recent Highs
by Tom Moeller  February 4, 2013

Now is still a time when auto showrooms are busy, but the buying frenzy has topped off. Unit sales of light motor vehicles during January slipped 0.6% m/m (9.4% y/y) to 15.29M (SAAR) according to the Autodata Corporation. That was the second consecutive monthly decline. 

Auto sales slipped 0.4% m/m (+9.7% y/y) to 7.85M. Domestic car sales gained 2.3% to 5.61M (17.5% y/y) but imports fell 6.5% (-5.8% y/y) to 2.24M, the lowest level since August. Light truck sales slipped 0.7% (+9.0% y/y) to 7.44M. Domestic light truck purchases eased 0.2% (+11.8% y/y) to 6.47M while sales of imported light trucks dropped 4.2% to 0.97M, which was off 6.7% y/y.

Imports' share of the U.S. light vehicle market tumbled to 21.0% in January, the lowest level since August. (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 fell to 28.9% and remained down from its 37.8% monthly peak in 2010. Imports' share of the light truck market increased to 13.1% 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.

A Boost in the Paycheck: Survey Evidence on Workers' Response to the 2011 Payroll Tax Cuts from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York can be found here.

 

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total 15.29 15.37 15.54 9.4 14.48 12.78 11.59
 Autos 7.85 7.88 8.04 9.7 7.43 6.23 5.77
  Domestic 5.61 5.49 5.55 17.5 5.10 4.21 3.76
  Imported 2.24 2.40 2.49 -5.8 2.33 2.02 2.01
 Light Trucks 7.44 7.49 7.50 9.0 7.05 6.55 5.82
  Domestic 6.47 6.48 6.49 11.8 6.08 5.55 4.86
  Imported 0.97 1.01 1.00 -6.7 0.97 1.00 0.96
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