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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Continue to Decline as Weather Turns Frigid
by Tom Moeller  February 3, 2014

Temperatures below zero in some parts of the U.S., and just unseasonably cold elsewhere in the country, took their toll on light vehicle sales last month. Unit motor vehicle sales slipped 1.0% to 15.24 million (SAAR, +0.1% y/y) during January, according to the Autodata Corporation. Sales have fallen 7.1% from the recovery high of 16.41 million in November.

The decline in overall sales was a function of fewer auto purchases, off 4.6% to a 7.30 million annual rate (-6.0% y/y). Sales of imported autos declined 12.3% to 2.17 million (-2.8% y/y). Sales of domestics fell 2.4% to 5.12 million (-7.4% y/y).

Whatever strength there was in vehicle sales last month was in sales of light trucks, which improved 3.6% m/m to 7.95 million (6.4% y/y). Sales of domestic light trucks led the gain with a 5.4% rise to 7.00 million (7.9% y/y). Imported light truck sales declined 7.9% to 0.95 million (-3.3% y/y).

Imports share of the U.S. light vehicle market fell to 20.5% last month. Imports share of the U.S. car market declined to 29.8%. Imports share of the light truck market fell to 11.9%.

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

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total 15.24 15.40 16.41 0.1 15.55 14.49 12.78
 Autos 7.30 7.73 8.14 -6.0 7.77 7.42 6.23
  Domestic 5.12 5.25 5.66 -7.4 5.47 5.10 4.21
  Imported 2.17 2.48 2.48 -2.8 2.29 2.32 2.02
 Light Trucks 7.95 7.67 8.27 6.4 7.79 7.08 6.55
  Domestic 7.00 6.64 7.09 7.9 6.71 6.10 5.55
  Imported 0.95 1.03 1.19 -3.3 1.08 0.97 1.00
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