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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Remain Strong
by Tom Moeller  March 2, 2016

Total sales of light vehicles during February eased 0.2% m/m to 17.54 million units (SAAR) from 17.58 million in January. The sizable 7.0% y/y increase continued to reflect 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 improved 0.1% (13.0% y/y) to 10.16 million units. Domestic light truck sales gained 0.2% (9.2% y/y) to 8.63 million. Sales of imported light trucks eased 0.6% (+40.5% y/y) to 1.53 million. Trucks sales were a record 57.8% of the light vehicle market, up from 54.8% in February 2015.

Auto purchases eased 0.6% to 7.39 million, down 0.3% y/y. Domestic auto sales fell 0.5% (+3.7% y/y) to 5.51 million. Sales of imported autos were off 1.0% (-10.2% y/y) to 1.88 million.

Imports share of the light vehicle market declined to 19.4% from 20.4% in Q4'15, and from 19.8% during all of last year. Imports share of the passenger car market of 25.4% compared to 26.3% last quarter, and 27.1% during all of last year. Imports share of the light truck market of 15.0% compared to 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) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Total 17.54 17.58 17.34 7.0 17.42 16.52 15.59
 Autos 7.39 7.43 7.40 -0.3 7.72 7.92 7.77
  Domestic 5.51 5.54 5.51 3.7 5.63 5.68 5.48
  Imported 1.88 1.89 1.89 -10.2 2.09 2.24 2.30
 Light Trucks 10.16 10.15 9.94 13.0 9.69 8.60 7.82
  Domestic 8.63 8.62 8.34 9.2 8.33 7.51 6.74
  Imported 1.53 1.54 1.59 40.5 1.37 1.09 1.08
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