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Over the last four decades, new light vehicle sales have gone from a low of 9.9 million vehicles in 1970 to a high of 17.1 million vehicles sold in 2001, but along the way, there have been significant ups and downs. Those ups and downs are also reflected in the change in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over time which shows a trend similar to the vehicle sales trend. Vehicle sales have been climbing since the recent low point in 2009.

Light Vehicle Sales, 1970-2012
Graph showing new vehicle sales in relation to the change in GDP for the years 1970 to 2012. See table below for more detailed information.

Note: New vehicle sales include cars and light trucks up to 14,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight rating.

Supporting Information

Light Vehicle Sales, 1970-2012
Year Light Vehicle
Sales
Percent Change in
Gross Domestic Product
From Prior Year
1970 9.9  
1971 12.0 3.4%
1972 13.2 5.3%
1973 14.2 5.8%
1974 11.2 -0.6%
1975 10.9 -0.2%
1976 13.1 5.4%
1977 14.6 4.6%
1978 15.1 5.6%
1979 14.0 3.1%
1980 11.2 -0.3%
1981 10.5 2.5%
1982 10.4 -1.9%
1983 12.1 4.5%
1984 14.2 7.2%
1985 15.4 4.1%
1986 16.1 3.5%
1987 14.9 3.2%
1988 15.5 4.1%
1989 14.5 3.6%
1990 13.9 1.9%
1991 12.3 -0.2%
1992 12.9 3.4%
1993 13.9 2.9%
1994 15.1 4.1%
1995 14.7 2.5%
1996 15.1 3.7%
1997 15.1 4.5%
1998 15.5 4.4%
1999 16.9 4.8%
2000 17.4 4.1%
2001 17.1 1.1%
2002 16.8 1.8%
2003 16.6 2.5%
2004 16.9 3.5%
2005 16.9 3.1%
2006 16.5 2.7%
2007 16.1 1.9%
2008 13.2 -0.3%
2009 10.4 -3.1%
2010 11.6 2.4%
2011 12.7 1.8%
2012 14.3 2.2%
Source: Light Vehicle Sales: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 31.
Gross Domestic Product: Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Product and Income Accounts, Table 1.1.6. Real Gross Domestic Product, Chained Dollars.

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