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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Remain Strong
by Tom Moeller  March 01, 2013

For the last four months, vehicle sales have been firm. Unit sales of light motor vehicles during February ticked up 0.6% m/m (6.1% y/y) to 15.38M (SAAR) according to the Autodata Corporation. Sales have been roughly stable at their highest level since early 2008. 

Auto sales fell 0.7% m/m (+1.4% y/y) to 7.80M last month. Domestic car sales fell 1.8% to 5.51M (+8.4% y/y) but imports recovered 2.2% (-12.2% y/y) to 2.29M. Light truck sales were up 1.9% (+11.4% y/y) in February to 7.58M. Domestic light truck purchases notched up 1.5% (13.8% y/y) to 6.56M while sales of imported light trucks recovered 4.6% to 1.02M, off 2.1% y/y.

Imports' share of the U.S. light vehicle market improved slightly to 21.5% in February, still near 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 improved slightly to 29.3% but remained down from its 37.8% monthly peak in 2010. Imports' share of the light truck market notched up 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) Feb Jan Dec Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total 15.38 15.29 15.37 6.1 14.48 12.78 11.59
 Autos 7.80 7.85 7.88 1.4 7.43 6.23 5.77
  Domestic 5.51 5.61 5.49 8.4 5.10 4.21 3.76
  Imported 2.29 2.24 2.40 -12.2 2.33 2.02 2.01
 Light Trucks 7.58 7.44 7.49 11.4 7.05 6.55 5.82
  Domestic 6.56 6.47 6.48 13.8 6.08 5.55 4.86
  Imported 1.02 0.97 1.01 -2.1 0.97 1.00 0.96
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