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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Back Away From Recent High
by Tom Moeller  October 1, 2013

Vehicle sales gave back some of their earlier strength last month. Unit sales of light motor vehicles fell 5.1% (+3.4% y/y) during September versus August to 15.28 million (SAAR) according to the Autodata Corporation. The latest sales level was the lowest since April.

Auto sales declined 3.9% m/m (+2.6% y/y) to 7.72 million last month. Domestic car sales were off 5.1% (+2.3% y/y) to 5.35 million while sales of imports fell 1.0% (+3.1% y/y) to 2.37 million. Light truck sales fell 6.2% (+4.2% y/y) in September to 7.56 million. Domestic light truck sales declined 7.3% (+2.7% y/y) to 6.46 million. To the upside, sales of imported light trucks ticked 0.4% higher month-to-month (13.9% y/y) to 1.10 million.

Imports share of the U.S. light vehicle market jumped m/m to 22.7% in September, its highest level since May of last year. (Imported vehicles are those produced outside the United States.) That share remained down, however, from its peak of 29.9% in Q1'09. Imports' share of the U.S. car market improved m/m to 30.7% but remained down from its 37.6% monthly peak in 2010. Imports' share of the light truck market improved to 14.5% last month.

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

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total 15.28 16.09 15.80 3.4 14.49 12.78 11.59
 Autos 7.72 8.03 7.94 2.6 7.42 6.23 5.77
  Domestic 5.35 5.64 5.63 2.3 5.10 4.21 3.76
  Imported 2.37 2.39 2.30 3.1 2.32 2.02 2.01
 Light Trucks 7.56 8.06 7.87 4.2 7.08 6.55 5.82
  Domestic 6.47 6.97 6.71 2.7 6.10 5.55 4.86
  Imported 1.10 1.09 1.16 13.9 0.97 1.00 0.96
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