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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Set a Record in 2016
by Tom Moeller  January 4, 2017

During all of 2016, total sales of light vehicles rose to a record 17.55 million units, up 0.7% from 17.42 million units sold in 2015, according to the Autodata Corporation. During December alone, sales increased 3.1% versus November (5.2% y/y) to 18.43 million units (SAAR). The increase reversed November's decline to 17.87 million units.

Pacing last year's strength was a 7.6% increase in sales of light trucks to 10.44 million units. Sales of domestic light trucks increased 5.0% last year to 8.75 million units. Imported light truck sales surged 23.7% to 1.68 million units. During December, light truck sales rose 4.3% (11.4% y/y) to 11.17 million. Domestic light truck sales increased 3.7% (10.1% y/y) to 9.25 million. Imported light truck sales increased 7.6% (18.3% y/y) to 1.92 million. Light truck sales increased to a record 59.5% of the light vehicle market during all of last year.

Auto sales declined 7.9% last year to 7.11 million units. Domestic car sales declined 7.6% to 5.20 million units. Sales of imported autos were off 9.0% to 1.91 million. During December alone, sales of domestically made autos increased 1.7% (-4.6% y/y) to 5.30 million. Imported auto sales inched 0.3% higher to 1.96 million (1.0% y/y).

Imports share of the light vehicle market of 20.5% during 2016 compared to 19.8% during all of 2015. Imports share of the passenger car market of 26.8% compared to 27.1% during all of 2015. Imports share of the light truck market rose to 16.1% from 14.0% in 2015, though that was lower than the 19.6% peak in 2009.

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

The minutes to the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

Light Weight Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Million Units) Dec Nov Oct Dec Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 18.43 17.87 18.02 5.2 17.55 17.42 16.52
 Autos 7.26 7.16 7.08 -3.2 7.11 7.72 7.92
  Domestic 5.30 5.21 5.12 -4.6 5.20 5.63 5.68
  Imported 1.96 1.96 1.96 1.0 1.91 2.09 2.24
 Light Trucks 11.17 10.71 10.94 11.4 10.44 9.70 8.60
  Domestic 9.25 8.92 9.18 10.1 8.75 8.34 7.51
  Imported 1.92 1.78 1.76 18.3 1.68 1.36 1.09
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