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Economy in Brief

U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Falter
by Tom Moeller  May 1, 2018

Total sales of light vehicles declined 1.9% during April (+0.6% y/y) to 17.15 million units (SAAR), following a 2.4% March rise, according to the Autodata Corporation. The decline placed sales 7.6% below the 18.57 million unit high reached last September. April sales have declined 4.0% since December, following a 1.7% twelve-month shortfall during 2017.

Leading last month's decline was a 3.4% drop (-16.4% y/y) in passenger car sales to 5.42 million units. Sales of domestically made autos eased 5.0% (-17.5% y/y) to 3.90 million units, the lowest level since November 2010. Sales of imported passenger cars improved 0.9% (-13.3% y/y) to 1.53 million units.

Sales of light trucks declined 1.2% (+11.0% y/y) to 11.72 million units. Domestic light truck sales eased 3.8% (+6.9% y/y) to 9.28 million units. Sales of imported light trucks increased 9.9% (30.1% y/y) to 2.45 million units.

Trucks' share of the U.S. vehicle market rose to 68.4% in April, up from 63.2% during all of last year and 48.8% during all of 2008.

Imports' share of the U.S. vehicle market surged to 23.2% last month, up from 19.9% in 2015. Imports' share of the passenger car market increased to 28.2% from 27.7% last year. Imports share of the light truck market surged to 20.9% versus 12.7% low during 2014.

U.S. vehicle sales figures can be found in Haver's USECON database.

Light Weight Vehicle Sales (SAAR, Million Units) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Total 17.15 17.48 17.08 0.6 17.27 17.55 17.48
 Autos 5.42 5.62 5.72 -16.4 6.35 7.10 7.73
  Domestic 3.90 4.10 4.13 -17.5 4.59 5.20 5.63
  Imported 1.53 1.51 1.59 -13.3 1.76 1.90 2.10
 Light Trucks 11.72 11.87 11.35 11.0 10.92 10.44 9.74
  Domestic 9.28 9.64 9.08 6.9 9.02 8.75 8.37
  Imported 2.45 2.23 2.27 30.1 1.90 1.69 1.38
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