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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Fall Again
by Tom Moeller  August 1, 2019

The Autodata Corporation reported that sales of light vehicles during July declined 2.0% (-0.7% y/y) to 16.89 million units (SAAR). The decline added to a 1.3% June shortfall and left sales at the lowest level since April. Earlier sales data were revised slightly.

Sales of light truck sales eased 0.8% last month (+4.1% y/y) to 12.05 million units. Purchases of domestically-made light trucks slipped 1.6% (+5.0% y/y) to 9.68 million units, while sales of imported light trucks improved 0.9% (0.4% y/y) to 2.36 million units. Imported truck sales have roughly doubled in the past four years.

Auto sales dropped 4.7% (-11.0% y/y) to 4.84 million. This compares to a peak level of 7.89 million unit sales during all of 2014. Purchases of domestically-produced cars fell 4.5% (-16.4% y/y) to 3.37 million units. Sales of imported cars declined 5.8% (+4.3% y/y) to 1.47 million units.

Trucks' share of the U.S. light vehicle market increased to a record 71.3%, up from a low of 48.8% during all of 2012.

Imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market rose slightly to 22.7% and has been trending upward since 2015. Imports' share of the passenger car market remained high at 30.4%, up roughly five percentage points since the end of last year. Imports share of the light truck market eased to 19.6%, but remained up from the 12.1% low in April 2014.

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) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total 16.89 17.23 17.45 -0.7 17.27 17.23 17.55
 Autos 4.84 5.08 5.03 -11.0 5.49 6.32 7.09
  Domestic 3.37 3.53 3.54 -16.4 4.00 4.58 5.20
  Imported 1.47 1.56 1.48 4.3 1.49 1.74 1.89
 Light Trucks 12.05 12.15 12.43 4.1 11.79 10.90 10.46
  Domestic 9.68 9.84 10.01 5.0 9.44 9.00 8.76
  Imported 2.36 2.34 2.42 0.4 2.35 1.91 1.70
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