Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Changing Mix of Light Vehicle Sales

by Bill McBride on 5/22/2018 09:18:00 AM

Whenever I'm driving, it seems like I'm surrounded by more and more SUVs and trucks. So I thought I'd look at the changing mix of vehicle sales over time (between passenger cars and light trucks / SUVs).

The first graph below shows the mix of sales since 1976 (Blue is cars, Red is light trucks and SUVs).

Vehicle Sales
Click on graph for larger image.

The mix has changed significantly. Back in 1976, most light vehicles were passenger cars - however car sales have trended down over time.

Note that the big dips in sales are related to economic recessions (early '80s, early '90s, and the Great Recession of 2007 through mid-2009).

Vehicle Sales The second graph shows the percent of light vehicle sales between passenger cars and trucks / SUVs.

Over time the mix has changed toward more and more light trucks and SUVs.

Only when oil prices are high, does the trend slow or reverse.

Recently oil prices have been fairly low (now increasing), and the percent of light trucks and SUVs is almost up to 70%.