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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Edge Higher
by Tom Moeller  February 2, 2016

Total sales of light vehicles during January improved 1.4% m/m to 17.58 million units (SAAR) from 17.34 million in December. The 5.2% y/y increase was prompted by the decline in gasoline prices, strong consumer confidence and low unemployment. Nevertheless, sales remained below the cycle peak of 18.24 million reached in October.

Sales of light trucks continued to pace the market with a 2.1% advance (12.2% y/y) to 10.15 million units. Domestic light truck sales improved 3.2% (7.8% y/y) to 8.62 million. Sales of imported light trucks declined 3.7% (+45.3% y/y) to 1.54 million. The gain lifted trucks sales to a record 57.7% of the light vehicle market, up from 54.1% in January 2015.

Auto purchases edged 0.4% higher to 7.43 million, but were down 3.1% y/y. Domestic auto sales gained 0.5% (-0.0% y/y) to 5.54 million. Sales of imported autos improved a similarly lackluster 0.4% (-11.1% y/y) to 1.89 million.

Imports share of the light vehicle market declined to 19.5% from 20.4% in Q4'15, and from 19.8% during all of last year. Imports share of the passenger car market of 25.5% compared to 26.3% last quarter, and 27.1% during all of last year. Imports share of the light truck market declined to 15.1% from 15.9% in Q4, but that was up from 14.1% during all of last year.

U.S. vehicle sales figures are published by Autodata and can be found in Haver's USECON database.

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Total 17.58 17.34 18.19 5.2 17.42 16.52 15.59
 Autos 7.43 7.40 7.81 -3.1 7.72 7.92 7.77
  Domestic 5.54 5.51 5.71 -0.0 5.63 5.68 5.48
  Imported 1.89 1.89 2.10 -11.1 2.09 2.24 2.30
 Light Trucks 10.15 9.94 10.38 12.2 9.69 8.60 7.82
  Domestic 8.62 8.34 8.73 7.8 8.33 7.51 6.74
  Imported 1.54 1.59 1.65 45.3 1.37 1.09 1.08
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