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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Recover
by Tom Moeller  April 3, 2019

The Autodata Corporation reported that sales of light vehicles increased 5.3% (1.0% y/y) during March to 17.45 million units (SAAR). The increase recouped declines during the prior two months.

Auto sales improved 3.4% (-6.7% y/y) to a 5.19 million unit pace. Purchases of domestically-produced cars strengthened 4.1% (-6.2% y/y) to 3.80 million units. Sales of imported cars improved 1.5% (-7.9% y/y) to 1.39 million.

Light-truck sales strengthened 6.1% (4.6% y/y) last month to a 12.26 million unit rate and added to February's 2.8% gain. Purchases of domestically-made light trucks gained 7.4% to 9.83 million units (3.3% y/y). Sales of imported light trucks improved 1.7% (10.5% y/y) to a 2.43 million sales rate.

Trucks' share of the U.S. vehicle market increased to a record high of 70.3%.  (The Autodata series dates back to 1990.)

Imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market declined last month to 21.9%, a three-month low. Imports' share of the passenger car market slipped to 26.8% and their share of the light truck market declined to 19.8%, the lowest percentage since August.

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

Light Weight Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Million Units) Mar Feb Jan Mar Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total 17.45 16.57 16.70 1.0 17.21 17.23 17.55
 Autos 5.19 5.02 5.46 -6.7 5.48 6.33 7.10
  Domestic 3.80 3.65 4.01 -6.2 3.99 4.58 5.20
  Imported 1.39 1.37 4.6 -7.9 1.49 1.75 1.90
 Light Trucks 12.26 11.55 11.24 4.6 11.74 10.90 10.44
  Domestic 9.83 9.15 8.96 3.3 9.42 9.00 8.75
  Imported 2.43 2.39 2.28 10.5 2.32 1.90 1.69
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