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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Continue to Strengthen in September
by Tom Moeller  October 2, 2020

• Monthly increases spread across product lines.

The Autodata Corporation reported that sales of light vehicles rose 7.5% during September (-4.7% y/y) to 16.36 million units (SAAR) from 15.22 million in August. September sales were the highest in six months, up 87.2% from the April low of 8.74 million units.

Auto sales increased 7.2% (-16.9% y/y) last month to 3.88 million units, still well below their peak level of 7.71 million unit sales reached in 2014. Purchases of domestically-produced cars rose 5.3% (-18.3% y/y) to 2.77 million units following a 4.0% August rise jump. Sales of imported cars surged 12.1% m/m (-13.3% y/y) to 1.11 million units.

Sales of light trucks improved 7.9% (-0.1% y/y) during September to 12.48 million units, the highest level since February. Purchases of domestically-made light trucks rose 7.4% (-1.1% y/y) to 9.87 million units after three months of strong gain. Sales of imported light trucks improved 8.3% (4.0% y/y) to 2.61 million units after falling 1.6% in August.

Trucks' share of the U.S. light vehicle market was little-changed at 76.3%.

Imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market held steady last month at 22.7%. Imports' share of the passenger car market strengthened to 28.6% from 27.3%. Imports share of the light truck market similarly improved slightly to 20.9%.

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 % 2019 2018 2017
Total 16.36 15.22 14.60 -4.7 17.06 17.32 17.23
 Autos 3.88 3.62 3.51 -16.9 4.82 5.40 6.17
  Domestic 2.77 2.63 2.53 -18.3 3.53 4.05 4.58
  Imported 1.11 0.99 0.98 -13.3 1.29 1.36 1.59
 Light Trucks 12.48 11.57 11.09 -0.1 12.24 11.92 11.07
  Domestic 9.87 9.19 8.64 -1.1 9.70 9.44 9.00
  Imported 2.61 2.41 2.45 4.0 2.54 2.48 2.07
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