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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Decline Sharply
by Tom Moeller  April 1, 2016

Total sales of light vehicles during March fell 5.5% from February, the fourth decline in five months. At 16.57 million units (SAAR), sales were at the lowest level in thirteen months.

Auto sales declined 6.4% to 6.91 million units (-10.9% y/y), the lowest level since December 2011. The decline was led by a 7.1% shortfall (-7.7% y/y) in domestic sales to 5.12 million. Sales of imported cars declined 4.3% (-18.9% y/y) to 1.79 million. These sales also were at the lowest level since 2011, and were roughly one-third below the 2012 high.

Sales of light trucks fell 4.9% (+3.0% y/y) to 9.66 million units, a nine month low. Domestic light truck sales declined 4.8% (+0.2% y/y) to 8.21 million. Sales of imported light trucks were off 5.2% (+22.1% y/y) to 1.45 million. Truck sales moved higher to 58.3% of the light vehicle market.

Imports 19.6% share of the light vehicle market in Q1 compared to 19.8% during all of last year. Imports share of the passenger car market of 26.0% compared to 27.1% during all of last year. Imports share of the light truck market of 15.0% compared 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) Mar Feb Jan Mar Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Total 16.57 17.54 17.58 -3.3 17.42 16.52 15.59
 Autos 6.91 7.39 7.43 -10.9 7.72 7.92 7.77
  Domestic 5.12 5.51 5.54 -7.7 5.63 5.68 5.48
  Imported 1.79 1.88 1.89 -18.9 2.09 2.24 2.30
 Light Trucks 9.66 10.16 10.15 3.0 9.69 8.60 7.82
  Domestic 8.21 8.63 8.62 0.2 8.33 7.51 6.74
  Imported 1.45 1.53 1.54 22.1 1.37 1.09 1.08
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