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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Reach Highest Level Since 2006
by Tom Moeller  January 5, 2015

Sales of light vehicles during 2014 improved 5.8% y/y to 16.49 million units, the highest level since 2006. Moderate pricing has been a factor in lifting sales. Since 2006, the CPI for new vehicles rose at a 0.9% annual rate. During December, sales slipped 1.7% m/m to 16.92 million (SAAR) but remained up 9.0% y/y. During the last six months, however, sales were little changed.

Light trucks led sales higher last year with a 9.9% gain to 8.58 million units. December sales of 8.76 million were up 12.5% y/y. Sales of U.S. made trucks rose 11.4% for the year to 7.50 million while December sales were up 13.9% y/y to 7.70 million. Imported light truck sales edged 0.5% higher for the year to 1.08 million and gained 3.6% y/y in December to 1.07 million units.

Auto sales posted a modest 1.7% increase to 7.91 million units during all of last year. Sales of 8.16 million in December were up 5.4% y/y. Domestic auto sales increased 3.7% last year to 5.68 million while December auto purchases gained 11.1% y/y to 5.88 million. Working 2.9% lower last year to 2.23 million were sales of imported cars. For December, sales were off 7.0% y/y to 2.27 million.

Imports share of the U.S. light vehicle market fell to 20.1% during all of last year then to 19.7% in December. These figures compare to 30.7% in February, 2009. Imports share of the U.S. auto market fell to 28.2% last year compared to a 2009 high of 35.3%. The share fell further last month to 27.8%. For light trucks, imports share fell to 12.6% during all of last year then to 12.2% in December. These figure compare to a 23.8% high early in 2009.       

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

Remarks at a Panel Discussion on Monetary Policy Normalization: Graceful Exit or Bumpy Ride? by Eric S. Rosengren, President & CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston can be found here.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Dec Nov Oct Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total 16.92 17.20 16.46 9.0 16.49 15.58 14.48
 Autos 8.16 8.18 7.97 5.4 7.91 7.78 7.42
  Domestic 5.88 6.08 5.88 11.1 5.68 5.48 5.10
  Imported 2.27 2.10 2.10 -7.0 2.23 2.30 2.32
 Light Trucks 8.76 9.03 8.49 12.5 8.58 7.81 7.06
  Domestic 7.70 7.88 7.41 13.9 7.50 6.73 6.09
  Imported 1.07 1.14 1.08 3.6 1.08 1.08 0.97
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