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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Rise To Six-Year High
by Tom Moeller  September 4, 2013

Motor dealer showrooms were quite busy places last month. Unit sales of light motor vehicles gained 1.8% during August versus July to 16.09 million (SAAR) according to the Autodata Corporation. The latest sales level was the highest since October 2007, just before the recession began. Earlier data were revised to reflect new seasonal factors.

Auto sales increased 1.2% m/m (9.1% y/y) to 8.03 million last month. Domestic car sales were essentially flat at 5.64 million (7.6% y/y) but sales of imports rose 3.9% (12.7% y/y) to 2.39 million. Light truck sales gained 2.9% (13.2% y/y) in August to 8.06 million. Domestic light truck sales increased 3.8% (11.5% y/y) to 6.97 million. Sales of imported light trucks fell 5.3% month-to-month (+25.3% y/y) to 1.09 million.

Imports' share of the U.S. light vehicle market slipped m/m to 21.7% in August. (Imported vehicles are those produced outside the United States.) That share remained down from its peak of 29.9% in Q1'09. Imports' share of the U.S. car market improved m/m to 29.8% but remained down from its 37.6% monthly peak in 2010. Imports' share of the light truck market fell to 13.6% last month and remained down from its 23.8% peak in early-2009.

U.S. vehicle sales figures can be found in Haver's USECON database.

The Fed's latest Beige Book covering regional economic conditions can be found here.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total 16.09 15.80 15.88 11.1 14.49 12.78 11.59
 Autos 8.03 7.94 7.88 9.1 7.42 6.23 5.77
  Domestic 5.64 5.63 5.62 7.6 5.10 4.21 3.76
  Imported 2.39 2.30 2.26 12.7 2.32 2.02 2.01
 Light Trucks 8.06 7.87 8.00 13.2 7.08 6.55 5.82
  Domestic 6.97 6.71 6.84 11.5 6.10 5.55 4.86
  Imported 1.09 1.16 1.16 25.3 0.97 1.00 0.96
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