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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  June 2, 2015

Sales of light vehicles reached a fifteen year high last month. At 17.79 million (AR), sales of total light vehicles in May increased 7.8% m/m (6.3% y/y) to the highest level since July 2005. Recent sales were revised slightly higher from last month's report due to raised light truck sales.

It continues to be a market where light truck sales are relatively firm. Light truck purchases improved 5.9% versus April to 9.68 million units. The gain lifted them 12.0% y/y and left trucks share of the total vehicle market at 54.4%, slightly below the ten year record. Domestic light truck sales increased 6.3% to 8.36 million (10.3% y/y), the highest level since July 2005. Imported truck sales gained 3.5% to 1.32 million (24.1% y/y), the highest level since April 2008.

Auto sales increased 10.1% last month to 8.11 million but were up just 0.3% y/y. Domestic auto sales rose 10.7% (3.0% y/y) to 5.87 million. Imported car sales gained 8.6% to 2.23 million (-6.5% y/y) following a like decline in April.

Imports share of the market for light vehicles was little changed m/m at 20.0%, down versus a high of 30.7% in February 2009. Imports share of the passenger car market slipped to 27.6%, off versus the March high of 29.3%. Imports share of the light truck market slipped to 13.7% but remained near the highest level since November 2013.

U.S. vehicle sales figures are published by Autodata and can be found in Haver's USECON database.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) May Apr Mar Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total 17.79 16.50 17.15 6.3 16.49 15.58 14.48
 Autos 8.11 7.36 7.70 0.3 7.91 7.78 7.42
  Domestic 5.87 5.31 5.45 3.0 5.68 5.48 5.10
  Imported 2.23 2.06 2.26 -6.3 2.23 2.30 2.32
 Light Trucks 9.68 9.14 9.44 12.0 8.58 7.81 7.06
  Domestic 8.36 7.86 8.24 10.3 7.50 6.73 6.09
  Imported 1.32 1.28 1.20 24.1 1.08 1.08 0.97
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