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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Decline
by Tom Moeller  February 1, 2019

Sales of light vehicles fell 4.8% (-2.8% y/y) during January to 16.70 million units (SAAR), the lowest level since August 2017.

A 7.9% decline (-1.9% y/y) in light truck sales to 11.24 million units led the decline after a 0.7% gain in the prior month. Sales of domestically-produced light trucks fell 8.2% (-3.4% y/y) to 8.96 million units following a 0.5% rise in December. Sales of imported light trucks declined 6.6% (+4.7% y/y) to 2.28 million units after a 1.2% rise.

Trucks’ share of the U.S. vehicle market declined to 67.3%, the lowest level since February of last year.

Passenger car sales improved 2.1% (-4.8% y/y) last month to 5.46 million units following declines during the prior two months. Sales of domestically-made cars improved 0.5% (-2.6% y/y) to 4.01 million units. Meanwhile, sales of imported passenger cars jumped 6.6% (-10.4% y/y) to 1.45 million units after three months of sharp decline.

Imports’ share of the U.S. vehicle market rose last month to 22.3%, the highest level in four months. Imports share of the passenger car market increased to 26.6%, but remained below the 28.6% high last April. Imports share of the light truck market improved to 20.3%.

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)

Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total 16.70 17.55 17.49 -2.8 17.21 17.23 17.55
 Autos 5.46 5.35 5.37 -4.8 5.48 6.33 7.10
  Domestic 4.01 3.99 3.95 -2.6 3.99 4.58 5.20
  Imported 1.45 1.36 1.43 -10.4 1.49 1.75 1.90
 Light Trucks 11.24 12.21 12.12 -1.9 11.74 10.90 10.44
  Domestic 8.96 9.76 9.71 -3.4 9.42 9.00 8.75
  Imported 2.28 2.44 2.41 4.7 2.32 1.90 1.69
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