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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Rebound
by Tom Moeller  April 3, 2018

Total sales of light vehicles increased 2.4% during March (3.9% y/y) to 17.48 million units (SAAR), following two months of decline, according to the Autodata Corporation. Despite the rebound, last month's sales remained below an 18.57 million September high.

Leading last month's rebound was a 4.5% rise (13.6% y/y) in light truck sales to 11.87 million units. Sales of domestically made light trucks jumped 6.2% (9.8% y/y) to 9.64 million units, the highest level in six months. Working lower by 2.0% were imported light truck sales to 2.23 million units. Nevertheless, sales were up by one-third y/y.

Trucks' share of the U.S. vehicle market continued higher with a rise to 67.9% in March, up from 63.2% during all of last year.

Auto sales continued to weaken, last month by 1.9% (-12.0% y/y) to 5.62 million units, the lowest level since April 2010. Domestic passenger car sales eased 0.7% (-11.2% y/y) to 4.10 million units. Sales of imported passenger cars dropped 4.8% (-14.0% y/y) to 1.51 million units.

Imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market eased to 21.4% last month, its lowest level since November. Imports' share of the passenger car market declined to 26.9% from 27.8%. Imports share of the light truck market fell to 18.8% following a surge to 20.0%.

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

The Policy Perils of Low Interest Rates from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is available here.

Light Weight Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Million Units) Mar Feb Jan Mar Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 17.48 17.08 17.16 3.9 17.27 17.55 17.48
 Autos 5.62 5.72 5.77 -12.0 6.35 7.10 7.73
  Domestic 4.10 4.13 4.11 -11.2 4.59 5.20 5.63
  Imported 1.51 1.59 1.66 -14.0 1.76 1.90 2.10
 Light Trucks 11.87 11.35 11.40 13.6 10.92 10.44 9.74
  Domestic 9.64 9.08 9.22 9.8 9.02 8.75 8.37
  Imported 2.23 2.27 2.17 33.5 1.90 1.69 1.38
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