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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Edge Higher During September
by Tom Moeller  October 3, 2022

• Light truck & auto sales both improve slightly.

• Imports' share slips.

• Sales remain constrained as parts shortages limit production.

The Autodata Corporation reported that light vehicle sales during September rose 2.1% (10.4% y/y) to 13.67 million units (SAAR) from 13.39 million in August. Sales remained roughly one-quarter below the April 2021 peak 18.50 million. Vehicle sales comprise about four percent of real consumer expenditures.

Sales of light trucks led last month's increase with a 2.4% gain (10.2% y/y) to 10.71 million units as they recaptured the August shortfall. Purchases of domestically-produced light trucks rose 2.1% last month (13.2% y/y) to 8.23 million units after falling 3.1% in August. Sales of imported light trucks improved 3.3% (1.2% y/y) to 2.48 million after rising 2.1% in August.

Trucks' share of the light vehicle market rose to 78.3% in September but remained down from the 80.4% high in October 2021.

Auto sales rose 1.0% during September (+11.7% y/y) to 2.96 million units, a five-month high, after increasing 3.9% during August. Purchases of domestically-made autos rose 5.0% in September (27.9% y/y) to 2.11 million units following a 3.6% August rise. Sales of imported autos weakened 7.6% (-15.8% y/y) to 0.85 million units and reversed the August increase.

Imports' total share of the U.S. vehicle market eased to 24.4% in last month after rising to 24.8% in August. Imports' share of the passenger car market fell sharply to 28.7% last month and remained down from the September 2021 high of 38.1%. Imports' share of the light truck market rose to 23.2%, a twelve-month high.

U.S. vehicle sales figures can be found in Haver's USECON database. Additional detail by manufacturer is in the INDUSTRY database.

Hybrid Working, Commuting Time, and the Coming Long-Term Boom in Home Construction from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City can be found here.

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