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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Ease Further
by Tom Moeller  March 1, 2018

Total sales of light vehicles during February slipped 0.5% (-2.2% y/y) to 17.08 million units (SAAR), following a 3.9% January fall to 17.16 million units, according to the Autodata Corporation. Last month's sales compared to an 18.57 million September high and were at the lowest level in six months.

Light truck sales eased 0.4% (+3.9% y/y) to 11.35 million units after a 3.1% January drop. Sales of domestically made light trucks fell 1.6% (-0.9% y/y) to 9.08 million units after a 4.0% January decline. Imported light truck sales rose 4.6% (28.7% y/y) to a record high 2.27 million units.

Trucks' share of the U.S. vehicle market rose slightly to a record 66.5% in February, up from 63.2% during all of last year and from 47.3% in 2009.

Auto sales fell 0.7% (-12.3% y/y) to 5.72 million units, the fifth consecutive monthly decline. Domestic passenger car sales improved 0.6% (-11.6% y/y) to 4.13 million units after declining for four consecutive months. Sales of imported passenger cars dropped 4.0% (-14.1% y/y) to 1.59 million units, the lowest level since February 1999.

Imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market rose to 22.6% last month from a 19.9% low during all of 2015. Imports' share of the passenger car market declined to 27.8% from a twelve-month high of 28.7% in January. Imports share of the light truck market surged to 20.0%, the highest level since March 2009.

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

Light Weight Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Million Units) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 17.08 17.16 17.85 -2.2 17.27 17.55 17.48
 Autos 5.72 5.77 6.09 -12.3 6.35 7.10 7.73
  Domestic 4.13 4.11 4.40 -11.6 4.59 5.20 5.63
  Imported 1.59 1.66 1.69 -14.1 1.76 1.90 2.10
 Light Trucks 11.35 11.40 11.76 3.9 10.92 10.44 9.74
  Domestic 9.08 9.22 9.61 -0.9 9.02 8.75 8.37
  Imported 2.27 2.17 2.16 28.7 1.90 1.69 1.38
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