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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Rise Modestly in July
by Tom Moeller  August 2, 2022

• Light truck sales improve but car sales are stable.

• Sales remain constrained as parts shortages limit dealer inventory.

• Imports' share slips.

The Autodata Corporation reported that light vehicle sales during July rose 2.2% (-8.8% y/y) to 13.51 million units (SAAR). Sales were roughly one-quarter below the April 2021 peak. Vehicle sales comprise roughly four percent of real consumer expenditures.

Sales of light trucks led last month's overall improvement by rising 2.9% (-5.1% y/y) to 10.69 million units following a 3.3% June gain. Despite the gains, truck sales remained 11.6% below their January peak. Purchases of domestically-produced light trucks improved 4.0% last month (-2.3% y/y) to 8.32 million units after rising 1.1% in June. Sales of imported light trucks eased 0.8% to 2.37 million units and were off 13.2% y/y.

Trucks' share of the light vehicle market rose to 79.1% in July but remained down from the 80.4% share nine months earlier.

Auto sales eased 0.4%, off 20.6% y/y, to 2.82 million units after rising 0.7% in June. Purchases of domestically-made autos fell 3.0% in July to 1.95 million units, off 15.2% y/y. Sales of imported autos improved 7.3% (-29.6% y/y) to 0.88 million units.

Imports' total share of the U.S. vehicle market fell m/m to 24.1% and remained below February's 25.4% share. Imports' share of the passenger car market rose to nearly one-third, but remained down from the September 2021 high of 38.1%. Imports' share of the light truck market fell to 22.2%.

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

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