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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Soar to 103-month High in August
by Sandy Batten  September 3, 2014

According to the Autodata Corporation, sales of light vehicles soared in August, jumping up to a much larger-than-expected 17.53 million units (SAAR) from 16.48 million in July. Increased automaker incentives interacted with a stronger economy and rising consumer confidence to generate a robust rise in monthly sales. This was by far the largest monthly sales figure in this expansion (indeed the largest since January 2006) and pushed sales up 10.0% relative to a year ago. Sales are now up 12.9% since the end of last year and 93.8% from their recession low in 2009. Moreover, the August reading puts sales well above their monthly average for the 2001-07 expansion (16.66 million SAAR per month).

Auto sales rose 5.5% in August from July to 8.44 million units, surpassing the "cash for clunkers" inflated 8.33 million units sold in August 2009. Sales of domestically produced autos jumped 7.1% in August while sales of imported autos edged up only 1.4% month over month.

Light truck sales surged 7.2% in August to 9.10 million units, their highest level since December 2005. Sales of domestically produced light trucks climbed a solid 6.9% month over month, but sales of imports jumped an even stronger 9.2% from July.

The import share of light vehicle sales continued to trend down, as it has throughout the current expansion. In August, the share fell to 19.7%, its lowest reading since 2006. The import share of auto sales fell sharply to 26.7%, a 103-month low, while the import share of light trucks rose to 13.3%, its highest reading in nine months.

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

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Total 17.53 16.48 16.90 10.0 15.56 14.49 12.78
 Autos 8.44 8.00 8.29 6.2 7.77 7.42 6.23
  Domestic 6.19 5.78 5.90 10.3 5.47 5.10 4.21
  Imported 2.24 2.21 2.40 -4.3 2.29 2.32 2.02
 Light Trucks 9.10 8.49 8.61 13.9 7.79 7.08 6.55
  Domestic 7.89 7.38 7.49 14.5 6.71 6.10 5.55
  Imported 1.21 1.10 1.12 10.0 1.08 0.97 1.00
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