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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Remain Healthy
by Tom Moeller  October 1, 2019

The Autodata Corporation reported that sales of light vehicles during September improved 0.9% (-0.6% y/y) to 17.23 million units (SAAR) from 17.07 million during August. The increase left the average level of sales during Q3'19 at 17.06 million units. That equaled Q2 but remained below the Q3'15 peak of 17.96 million units.

Sales of light truck sales rose 1.1% last month (4.0% y/y) to 12.43 million units. Purchases of domestically-made light trucks gained 1.3% (4.6% y/y) to a near-record 10.03 million units, while sales of imported light trucks improved 0.4% (1.7% y/y) to 2.40 million units. Imported truck sales have roughly doubled in the past five years.

Auto sales edged 0.2% higher (-11.0% y/y) to 4.79 million. This compares to a peak level of 7.89 million unit sales during all of 2014. Purchases of domestically-produced cars improved 2.1% (-12.2% y/y) to 3.44 million units. Sales of imported cars declined 3.6% (-8.8% y/y) to 1.35 million units.

Trucks' share of the U.S. light vehicle market increased to a record 72.1%, up from a low of 48.8% during all of 2012.

Imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market declined to 21.7%, the lowest since December. Imports' share of the passenger car market fell sharply to 28.2%. Imports share of the light truck market eased to 19.3%, 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) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total 17.23 17.07 16.89 -0.6 17.27 17.23 17.55
 Autos 4.79 4.78 4.84 -11.0 5.49 6.32 7.09
  Domestic 3.44 3.37 3.37 -12.2 4.00 4.58 5.20
  Imported 1.35 1.40 1.47 -8.8 1.49 1.74 1.89
 Light Trucks 12.43 12.29 12.05 4.0 11.79 10.90 10.46
  Domestic 10.03 9.90 9.68 4.6 9.44 9.00 8.76
  Imported 2.40 2.39 2.36 1.7 2.35 1.91 1.70
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