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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Dip M/M But Hold the High Ground
by Tom Moeller  April 2, 2013

Vehicle sales have been firm for five months at the highest level since early-2008. During March, unit sales of light motor vehicles slipped 0.7% m/m (+8.0% y/y) to 15.27M (SAAR) according to the Autodata Corporation. Sales matched expectations according to Bloomberg. 

Light truck sales increased 2.6% (14.8% y/y) in March to 7.78M. Domestic light truck purchases rose 2.7% (17.1% y/y) to 6.74M while sales of imported light trucks rose 1.5% to 1.03M, up 1.7% y/y. Auto sales fell 3.9% m/m (+1.7% y/y) to 7.49M last month. Domestic car sales fell 3.1% to 5.34M (+7.9% y/y) while sales of imports fell 6.0% (-11.1% y/y) to 2.15M. 

Imports' share of the U.S. light vehicle market slipped to 20.8% in March and was 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 slipped to 28.7% and remained down from its 37.8% monthly peak in 2010. Imports' share of the light truck market edged down to 13.3% 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. 

Economic Growth Poised to Accelerate from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas can be found here.

 

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Mar Feb Jan Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total 15.27 15.38 15.29 8.0 14.48 12.78 11.59
 Autos 7.49 7.80 7.85 1.7 7.43 6.23 5.77
  Domestic 5.34 5.51 5.61 7.9 5.10 4.21 3.76
  Imported 2.15 2.29 2.24 -11.1 2.33 2.02 2.01
 Light Trucks 7.78 7.58 7.44 14.8 7.05 6.55 5.82
  Domestic 6.74 6.56 6.47 17.1 6.08 5.55 4.86
  Imported 1.03 1.02 0.97 1.7 0.97 1.00 0.96
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