Sales of light vehicles totaled 15.2 million at an annual rate in August, continuing a rebound from the 8.7 million pace in April (see top chart). The pace of sales in April was the lowest on record since this data series began in 1976 and follows a run of 72 months in the 16 to 18 million range from March 2014 through February 2020. Unit vehicle sales fell significantly below the range as the 2008–9 recession began, hitting a low of just 9.0 million in February 2009. Sales began a slow recovery and returned to the 16 to 18 million range in March 2014, about 5 years after hitting the low (see top chart).
For the month of August, light-truck sales totaled 11.6 million at an annual rate, up from the 11.1 million rate in July but well ahead of the 6.8 million rate in April. Car sales also had a modest gain, rising to a 3.6 annual rate versus 3.5 in July and 2.0 in April. On a percentage basis, light-trucks posted a 4.5 percent gain in August while cars had a 1.9 percent rise.
The faster gain for light-trucks puts the light-truck share at 76.5 percent, below the 78 percent record high in May, but still completely dominating the car share of 23.5 percent. The dominant share of light-trucks continues a long-term trend (see bottom chart). As recently as February 2013, the split between cars and light-trucks (SUVs and pick-up trucks) was about even, with both segments selling about 7.76 million at an annual rate.