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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Recover as Truck Purchases Surge
by Tom Moeller  May 3, 2016

U.S. consumers' attraction to light trucks bolstered overall vehicle sales last month. Total sales of light vehicles during April increased 5.1% (4.0% y/y) from March to 17.42 million units (SAAR), and recovered most of the prior month's decline.

Sales of light trucks jumped 7.3% (12.5% y/y) to 10.36 million units, a five month high. Sales of imported light trucks surged 12.4% (29.4% y/y) to 1.63 million units, and were just shy of the record high reached in November. Domestic light truck sales increased 6.3% (9.8% y/y) to 8.73 million units. Truck sales moved higher to 59.5% of the light vehicle market.

Auto sales improved 2.1% to 7.06 million units (-6.3% y/y), and recovered much of the prior month's decline. The increase was led by an 8.6% rise (-5.6% y/y) in imported car sales 1.95 million. Sales of domestically made cars eased 0.1% (-6.6% y/y) to 5.11 million. These sales were at the lowest level since July 2011.

Imports share of the light vehicle market rose to 20.5%, compared to 19.8% during all of last year. Imports share of the passenger car market of 27.6% compared to 27.1% during all of last year. Imports share of the light truck market of 15.7% compared 14.1% during all of 2015.

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

Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Mil. Units) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Total 17.42 16.57 17.54 4.0 17.42 16.52 15.59
 Autos 7.06 6.91 7.39 -6.3 7.72 7.92 7.77
  Domestic 5.11 5.12 5.51 -6.6 5.63 5.68 5.48
  Imported 1.95 1.79 1.88 -5.6 2.09 2.24 2.30
 Light Trucks 10.36 9.66 10.16 12.5 9.69 8.60 7.82
  Domestic 8.73 8.21 8.63 9.8 8.33 7.51 6.74
  Imported 1.63 1.45 1.53 29.4 1.37 1.09 1.08
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