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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Surge to Seven-Year High
by Tom Moeller  December 3, 2013

Car & truck dealerships were a busy place during November. Unit sales of light motor vehicles jumped 7.7% (7.1% y/y) versus October to 16.41 million (SAAR), according to the Autodata Corporation. The latest level of sales was the highest since February 2007.

Sales of light trucks were notably firm last month as they increased 8.8% m/m to 8.27 million units (10.7% y/y). Strongest were domestic light truck sales which posted a 9.2% m/m gain to 7.09 million units (9.4% y/y). Sales of imported light trucks also logged a firm 6.0% rise to 1.19 million units (18.7% y/y).

The strength in auto purchases was nearly as impressive. The 6.7% increase to 8.14 million units (3.8% y/y) reflected an 11.0% rise in sales of imports to 2.48 million units (3.2% y/y). Domestic car sales were not far behind with a 4.9% gain to 5.66 million units (4.0% y/y).

Imports share of the U.S. light vehicle market last month ticked higher m/m to 22.3%. (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 increased m/m to 30.4% and remained down from its 37.6% monthly peak in 2010. Imports' share of the light truck market slipped m/m to 14.3%.

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

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Nov Oct Sep Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Total 16.41 15.23 15.28 7.1 14.49 12.78 11.59
 Autos 8.14 7.63 7.72 3.8 7.42 6.23 5.77
  Domestic 5.66 5.40 5.35 4.0 5.10 4.21 3.76
  Imported 2.48 2.23 2.37 3.2 2.32 2.02 2.01
 Light Trucks 8.27 7.61 7.56 10.7 7.08 6.55 5.82
  Domestic 7.09 6.49 6.46 9.4 6.10 5.55 4.86
  Imported 1.19 1.12 1.10 18.7 0.97 1.00 0.96
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