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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Slip
by Tom Moeller  June 1, 2018

Total sales of light vehicles declined 1.5% during May (+0.7% y/y) to 16.91 million units (SAAR), following a 1.8% April decline to 17.17 million units, according to the Autodata Corporation. The decline left sales 8.9% below the 18.57 million unit high reached last September. May sales declined 5.3% since December, following a 1.7% twelve-month shortfall during 2017.

Sales of light trucks declined 2.2% (+8.7% y/y) to 11.48 million units. Domestic light truck sales eased 2.1% (+5.1% y/y) to 9.09 million units. Sales of imported light trucks fell 2.5% (+25.4% y/y) to 2.39 million units.

Passenger car sales were fairly steady m/m at 5.44 million units. Sales of domestically made autos eased 0.1% (-13.5% y/y) to 3.90 million units, the lowest level since November 2010. Sales of imported passenger cars improved 0.7% (-11.1% y/y) to 1.54 million units.

Trucks' share of the U.S. vehicle market slipped to 67.9% in May, but remained up versus 63.2% during all of last year and 48.8% during all of 2008.

Imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market was steady at 23.2% last month, up from 19.9% in 2015. Imports' share of the passenger car market increased to 28.3% from 27.7% last year. Imports share of the light truck market held steady at  20.8% versus a 12.7% low during 2014.

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

Light Weight Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Million Units) May Apr Mar May Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 16.91 17.17 17.48 0.7 17.27 17.55 17.48
 Autos 5.44 5.43 5.62 -12.8 6.35 7.10 7.73
  Domestic 3.90 3.91 4.10 -13.5 4.59 5.20 5.63
  Imported 1.54 1.53 1.51 -11.1 1.76 1.90 2.10
 Light Trucks 11.48 11.73 11.87 8.7 10.92 10.44 9.74
  Domestic 9.09 9.28 9.64 5.1 9.02 8.75 8.37
  Imported 2.39 2.45 2.23 25.4 1.90 1.69 1.38
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