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Economy in Brief

U.S. A "Yearend Sales Event" Spurs Vehicle Purchases
by Tom Moeller  October 3, 2017

The market for new motor vehicles regained positive momentum last month as automakers aggressively cleared inventory in advance of the 2018 model selling season. Total sales of light vehicles jumped 15.0% during September (4.8% y/y) to 18.57 million units (SAAR) from 16.14 million in August, according to the Autodata Corporation. It was the highest level of sales since July 2005.

A 16.3% surge (11.6% y/y) in light truck sales led the sales increase last month. The jump to 11.76 million sales (AR) was powered by domestically-made light trucks which increased 16.5% (9.6% y/y) to 9.69 million units. Imported light truck sales also showed strength with a 15.7% surge (22.0% y/y) to a record 2.07 million units.

The passenger car market also strengthened during September with a 12.9% rise (-5.2% y/y) to 6.81 million units. Domestically-produced passenger car sales increased 13.6% last month (-5.5% y/y) to 4.95 million units. Sales of imported passenger cars rose 10.9% (-4.4% y/y) to 1.85 million units.

Trucks' share of the U.S. vehicle market improved m/m to 63.3%, but remained below December's high of 64.2%.

Imports share of the U.S. vehicle market eased to 21.1%. Imports share of the passenger car market slipped to 27.2%. Imports share of the light truck market was fairly steady at 17.6% but remained higher than the 12.7% share during all of 2014.

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

Light Weight Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Million Units) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Total 18.57 16.14 16.77 4.8 17.55 17.42 16.52
 Autos 6.81 6.03 6.21 -5.2 7.10 7.73 7.92
  Domestic 4.95 4.36 4.51 -5.5 5.20 5.63 5.68
  Imported 1.85 1.67 1.70 -4.4 1.90 2.10 2.24
 Light Trucks 11.76 10.11 10.55 11.6 10.44 9.74 8.60
  Domestic 9.69 8.32 8.68 9.6 8.75 8.37 7.51
  Imported 2.07 1.79 1.88 22.0 1.69 1.38 1.09
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