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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Continue to Strengthen in April
by Tom Moeller  May 3, 2021

• Car & light truck sales have risen sharply so far this year.

• Imports' share of market moves higher.

U.S. sales of light vehicles increased last month as COVID-19 vaccines became more readily available. The Autodata Corporation reported that light vehicle sales during April rose 2.5% to 18.54 million units (SAAR) and more than doubled y/y. So far this year sales have risen 13.0%.

Auto sales increased 4.5% (107.4% y/y) last month to 4.21 million units, the highest level since February of last year. Purchases of domestically-produced cars rose 3.0% (87.1% y/y) to 2.75 million units. Sales of imported autos jumped 7.4% (160.7% y/y) to 1.46 million, the highest level since February 2018.

Sales of light trucks rose 1.9% ( 113.6% y/y) during April to a record 14.33 million units. Purchases of domestically-made light trucks held steady (106.2% y/y) at 10.97 million units. Sales of imported light trucks increased 8.7% (141.7% y/y) to a record 3.36 million units.

Trucks' share of the light vehicle market eased to 77.3% but remained near the record.

Imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market increased last month to 26.1% from 22.4% twelve months earlier. Imports' share of the passenger car market rose to 34.7% in April. Imports' share of the light truck market strengthened to 23.4%.

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) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Total 18.54 18.08 16.06 112.1 14.55 17.06 17.32
 Autos 4.21 4.03 3.60 107.4 3.54 4.82 5.40
  Domestic 2.75 2.67 2.36 87.1 2.53 3.53 4.05
  Imported 1.46 1.36 1.24 160.7 1.01 1.29 1.36
 Light Trucks 14.33 14.06 12.45 113.6 11.01 12.24 11.92
  Domestic 10.97 10.97 9.78 106.2 8.62 9.70 9.44
  Imported 3.36 3.09 2.67 141.7 2.39 2.54 2.48
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