US vehicle sales are slumping nationwide—a sign of a general economic slowdown. But it’s interesting to see exactly how they’re slumping. Figures from Autodata (spreadsheet link) show that, for calendar year 2008 to date, passenger car sales are down about 3 percent. But light truck sales are off by a whopping 12 percent. Take a look.
The truck decline was even steeper in March; passenger car sales were off 5.4 percent, but truck sales were down a whopping 17.8 percent, compared with March ’07. Overall, US car sales outpaced truck sales last month—which, as I understand it, rarely happens these days.
Meanwhile, hybrids zoomed off the lots this January—with sales up 27 percent from the previous year—but slowed a bit in February. Still, hybrids were up slightly from the previous year, when measured as a share of total vehicle sales.
Admittedly, most of this is based on preliminary data. The story may change. Still, from everything I can gather, high fuel prices (coupled with a slow economy) are really beginning to have an effect on the kinds of cars we’re buying.