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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Remain Strong Despite Monthly Dip
by Tom Moeller  December 1, 2015

Total sales of light vehicles eased 0.3% during November to 18.19 million units (SAAR) following a like increase in October. Sales have risen 6.2% since last November and were near the highest level since July 2005.

Passenger car sales led the way lower last month and fell 2.5% to 7.81 million after a 1.3% October rise. Sales were down by 4.0% versus one year earlier. Domestic car sales declined 3.0% to 5.71 million and were down 5.6% from the peak during August 2014. Sales of imported autos eased a lesser 0.9% to 2.10 and have been falling steadily since Q4'13.

Sales of light trucks increased 1.5% to 10.38 million after having been roughly unchanged m/m in October. Light truck sales share of the total new vehicle market rose to 57.1%, the highest level since a spike in July 2005. Purchases were up 15.5% versus a year earlier. Imported light truck sales rose 2.5% to 1.66 million, a record high. Sales of domestically made trucks gained 1.3% to 8.72 million.

Imports share of the market for light vehicles improved to 20.7%, still lower than a high of 30.7% in February 2009. Imports share of the light truck market added to earlier gains with a rise to 16.0%, its highest since March 2011. Imports share of the passenger car market was little changed m/m at 26.9%, remaining below the 34.8% peak during all of 2010.

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

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Total 18.19 18.24 18.17 6.2 16.52 15.59 14.49
 Autos 7.81 8.01 7.91 -4.0 7.92 7.77 7.42
  Domestic 5.71 5.89 5.83 -4.5 5.68 5.48 5.10
  Imported 2.10 2.12 2.08 -2.8 2.24 2.30 2.32
 Light Trucks 10.38 10.23 10.26 15.5 8.60 7.82 7.08
  Domestic 8.72 8.61 8.88 11.4 7.51 6.74 6.10
  Imported 1.66 1.62 1.37 43.1 1.09 1.08 0.97
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