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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Fall Sharply in March
by Tom Moeller  April 1, 2022

• Both auto & light truck sales tumble for second straight month.

• Sales have been under pressure as parts shortages limit dealer inventory.

• Imports' share reverses most of three-month increase.

The Autodata Corporation reported that light vehicle sales during March fell 5.4% (-24.7% y/y) to 13.40 million units (SAAR) after weakening 6.8% in February. Sales were 27.6% below the April 2021 peak of 18.50 million units.

Auto sales declined 8.4% (-31.1% y/y) last month to 2.73 million units. Purchases of domestically-made autos weakened 3.5% in March (-27.5% y/y) to 1.92 million units. Sales of imported autos weakened 18.2% (-38.6% y/y) to 0.81 million units.

Sales of light trucks weakened 4.6% (-22.8% y/y) in March to 10.67 million units. Purchases of domestically-produced light truck declined 1.7% last month (-21.7% y/y) to 8.46 million units. Sales of imported light trucks fell 14.0% last month (-27.1% y/y) to 2.21 million units.

Trucks' share of the light vehicle market slipped to 79.6% and remained below an 80.4% share in October of last year.

Imports' total share of the U.S. vehicle market fell in March to 22.5% and reversed gains in the prior two months. Imports' share of the passenger car market fell to 29.7% last month. Imports' share of the light truck market fell to 20.7%.

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 % 2021 2020 2019
Total 13.40 14.16 15.19 -24.7 15.10 14.58 17.06
 Autos 2.73 2.98 3.12 -31.1 3.40 3.52 4.82
  Domestic 1.92 1.99 2.08 -27.5 2.24 2.51 3.53
  Imported 0.81 0.99 1.05 -38.6 1.16 1.01 1.29
 Light Trucks 10.67 11.18 12.07 -22.8 11.70 11.07 12.24
  Domestic 8.46 8.61 9.39 -21.7 9.03 8.65 9.70
  Imported 2.21 2.57 2.67 -27.1 2.67 2.41 2.54
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