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Economy in Brief

U.S. Vehicle Sales Surge
by Tom Moeller  June 3, 2014

Auto buyers were out in force last month, lifting sales of light vehicles to the highest level since July 2006. According to the Autodata Corporation, unit sales of light vehicle sales during May increased 4.6% (8.3% y/y) to 16.77 million (SAAR). The gain recovered a 2.2% April decline and raised sales by 8.9% since December.

Auto purchases improved 6.6% (5.9% y/y) to 8.04 million and nearly matched November's high of 8.14 million. Sales of domestic autos increased 6.5% (5.7% y/y) to 5.67 million. Sales of imports gained 6.8% (6.2% y/y) to 2.37 million.

Sales of light trucks recovered 2.8% m/m (10.7% y/y) to 8.73 million, raising them to the highest level since April 2007. Imported light truck sales showed notable strength with a 7.8% increase (-2.1% y/y) to 1.06 million. Sales of domestic light truck sales rose a lesser 2.1% (12.8% y/y) to 7.67 million.

Imports' share of the U.S. light vehicle market improved marginally to 20.5% last month. By vehicle type, imports' share of the U.S. car market ticked up to 29.5%. Imports' share of the light truck market increased to 12.2%.

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

The Economic Recovery and Monetary Policy: The Road Back to Ordinary from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) May Apr Mar Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total 16.77 16.04 16.40 8.3 15.55 14.49 12.78
 Autos 8.04 7.55 7.75 5.9 7.77 7.42 6.23
  Domestic 5.67 5.33 5.48 5.7 5.47 5.10 4.21
  Imported 2.37 2.22 2.27 6.2 2.29 2.32 2.02
 Light Trucks 8.73 8.49 8.65 10.7 7.79 7.08 6.55
  Domestic 7.67 7.51 7.56 12.8 6.71 6.10 5.55
  Imported 1.06 0.99 1.09 -2.1 1.08 0.97 1.00
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