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First Cut: Total motor vehicle sales down to 16.5 million units (SAAR) in February from 16.7 million units in January

Sales of all motor vehicles declined to 16.5 million units (SAAR) in February after 16.7 million in January and the 17.5 million December. Sales of all motor vehicles got a boost in September through December as consumers and businesses had to replace vehicles lost in natural disasters. The underlying pace of sales is returning to a more moderate level.

Sales of domestically-produced motor vehicles were down to 12.7 million units in February after 12.9 million in January. Sales of domestically produced units accounts for a little over 3/4 of all sales and represent a contribution to manufacturing, not just consumption.

Sales of passenger cars were 4.9 million units compared to 11.7 million units in the light trucks category which includes crossovers, SUVS, and minivans. As long as prices at the pump remain relatively low, consumers will continue to exercise their preference for the less fuel efficient category.

Although sales of motor vehicles are often cool in February, the seasonals in the retail sales report account for this. Nonetheless, there will be no upward momentum in total retail dollars spent from the motor vehicles component.

 

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