Fact #811: January 6, 2014 Light Vehicle Sales Recoveries

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The figure below shows the effect of the past three recessions on light vehicle sales. Of the last three recessions, the recent one had the most profound effect on light vehicle sales with a decline of 37.4% over a three-year period. In 2006, vehicle sales began to decline and then plummeted from about 16 million sales in 2007 to about 10 million in 2009, roughly equivalent to the low in 1982. The subsequent recovery in light vehicle sales from the low in 2009 was similar to that of the other two with projected sales expected to reach 15.8 million by the end of 2013.

Light Vehicle Sales Recovery for Model Years 1979—1986, 1988—1995, and 2006—2013
Graph showing the light vehicle sales (in millions) from 1979 to 1986, 1988 to 1995, and 2006 to 2013. See table below for more detailed information.

Supporting Information

Light Vehicle Sales Recovery for Model Years 1979—1986, 1988—1995, and 2006—2013
Model Year Sales (Millions)   Model Year Sales (Millions)   Model Year Sales (Millions)
1979 13.5   1988 15.3   2006 16.3
1980 10.9   1989 14.4   2007 15.9
1981 10.2   1990 13.9   2008 13.0
1982 10.0   1991 12.3   2009 10.2
1983 11.7   1992 12.8   2010 11.4
1984 13.6   1993 13.9   2011 12.5
1985 14.7   1994 15.0   2012 14.2
1986 16.0   1995 14.7   2013* 15.8
* Sales estimation for January—December 2013
Sources: 1979-2012: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Transportation Energy Data Book, Ed. 32, Table 3.11, July 2013.
2013: Crain Communications, "Automotive News," September 9, 2013, p. 62.

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