U.S. car sales 1951-2019

How many cars are sold in the U.S.? The number of passenger cars sold in the U.S. stood at a little over 4.7 million units in 2019. Total car and light truck sales were approximately 17 million in the United States and around 77 million units worldwide in 2019.

Focus on fuel economy

The U.S. auto industry had one of its worst years in 1982, when customers were beginning to feel the effects of the 1973 oil crisis and the energy crisis of 1979. Since light trucks would often be considered less fuel-efficient, cars accounted for about 77 percent of light vehicle sales back then. Thanks to improved fuel economy for light trucks and cheaper gas prices, this picture had completely changed in 2019. Between 2013 and 2019, prices for Brent oil roughly dropped by 40 U.S. dollars per barrel. The decline occurred in tandem with lower gasoline prices, which came to about 2.6 U.S. dollars per gallon in 2019 - and cars only accounted for less than 30 percent of light vehicle sales that year.

Most sought-after models

The best-selling car models in the U.S. include Japanese cars such as the Toyota Camry and the Honda Civic, while the Ford F-Series and the Chevrolet Silverado topped the list of the best-selling light trucks in the United States in 2018.

U.S. car sales from 1951 to 2019

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period

1951 to 2019

Supplementary notes

The figures for 1951 to 1976 were taken from the wardsauto.com website (please note that this content has been put behind a registration wall).
Monthly values have been added up.
The term car refers to light vehicles other than light trucks.

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Statistics on "Automotive industry in the U.S."

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