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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Continue to Decline
by Tom Moeller  February 1, 2018

Total sales of light vehicles during January declined 4.1% (-1.8% y/y) to 17.12 million (SAAR) following a 1.9% December increase to 17.85 million, according to the Autodata Corporation. It compared to an 18.6 million September high and was the lowest level since August.

Light truck sales fell 3.5% (+4.5% y/y) to 11.36 million after a 4.9% December rise. Domestically-made light trucks were off 4.4% (+1.2% y/y) to 9.18 million units, reversing a 4.7% December rise. Imported light truck sales rose 0.8% (20.7% y/y) to 2.17 million units, a record high.

Trucks' share of the U.S. vehicle market jumped to a record 66.3% in January and was higher than 63.2% during all of last year.

Auto sales fell 5.3% (-12.1% y/y) to 5.77 million units following three consecutive months of 3.6% decline. Domestic passenger car sales declined 6.5% (-12.1% y/y) to 4.11 million, the lowest level since August 2011. Sales of imported passenger cars eased 2.2% (-12.3% y/y) to 1.66 million units, the lowest level since December 2008.

Imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market rose to 22.4% last month from a 19.9% low during all of 2015. Imports' share of the passenger car market increased to 28.7%, a twelve-month high. Imports share of the light truck market strengthened to 19.1%, up from a 12.7% low during all of 2014.

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

Light Weight Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Million Units) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 17.12 17.85 17.53 -1.8 17.27 17.55 17.48
 Autos 5.77 6.09 6.32 -12.1 6.35 7.10 7.73
  Domestic 4.11 4.40 4.61 -12.1 4.59 5.20 5.63
  Imported 1.66 1.69 1.71 -12.3 1.76 1.90 2.10
 Light Trucks 11.36 11.76 11.21 4.5 10.92 10.44 9.74
  Domestic 9.18 9.61 9.17 1.2 9.02 8.75 8.37
  Imported 2.17 2.16 2.04 20.7 1.90 1.69 1.38
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