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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Remain Firm
by Tom Moeller  December 3, 2018

Sales of light vehicles eased 0.2% (-0.8% y/y) during November to 17.49 million units (SAAR), but remained near the highest level in twelve months.

Passenger car sales declined 4.8% (-14.5% y/y) last month to 5.37 million units and reversed the modest increase during October. Sales of domestically made cars fell 5.3% (-13.6% y/y) to 3.95 million units and reversed the October increase. Sales of imported passenger cars eased 2.7% (-16.3% y/y) to 1.43 million units. The decline was the third in four months.

Light truck sales increased 1.9% in November to 12.12 million units and reversed the prior month's decline. Sales were nearly at the record high and up 6.8% y/y. Sales of domestically-produced light trucks rose 2.2% (4.4% y/y) to 9.71 million units and reversed the October decline. Sales have been moving steadily upward toward a record high. Sales of imported light trucks improved 0.8% (17.6% y/y) to a new record of 2.41 million units.

Trucks' share of the U.S. vehicle market reached a record 69.3% last month. This compared to 47.3% at the low during all of 2009.

Imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market eased last month at 22.0%, down from the peak of 27.6% during all of 2009. Imports' share of the passenger car market improved to 26.6%. Imports share of the light truck market was little changed at 19.9% which remained near the cycle high, up from the low of 12.7% in 2014.

U.S. vehicle sales figures can be found in Haver's USECON database. Additional detail by manufacturer is in the INDUSTRY database.

U.S. Light Weight Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Million Units)

Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 17.49 17.53 17.44 -0.8 17.23 17.55 17.48
 Autos 5.37 5.64 5.41 -14.5 6.33 7.10 7.73
  Domestic 3.95 4.17 3.91 -13.6 4.58 5.20 5.64
  Imported 1.43 1.47 1.49 -16.3 1.75 1.90 2.10
 Light Trucks 12.12 11.89 12.03 6.8 10.90 10.44 9.74
  Domestic 9.71 9.50 9.63 4.4 9.00 8.75 8.37
  Imported 2.41 2.39 2.40 17.6 1.90 1.69 1.38
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