Pickups Drive February Sales Momentum

Detroit News - March 2, 2013

Demand for pick­ups fueled a 3.7 per­cent rise in Feb­ru­ary vehi­cle sales, a con­tin­ued sign of an improv­ing U.S. hous­ing mar­ket and con­sumer con­fi­dence.

How does this affect U.S. automak­ers and their deal­er­ships?

Domes­tic and for­eign automak­ers sold 1.19 mil­lion cars and light trucks in Feb­ru­ary, com­pared to 1.15 mil­lion the same month a year ago, accord­ing to results released Fri­day by Auto­da­ta Corp.

Among domes­tic automak­ers, Gen­er­al Motors Co. post­ed a 7.2 per­cent boost in sales, beat­ing ana­lyst expec­ta­tions.

Crosstown rival Ford Motor Co. saw sales rise 9.3 per­cent. Chrysler Group LLC’s report­ed a 4.2 per­cent climb in sales. Both automak­ers’ sales fell short of ana­lysts’ expec­ta­tions.

Sales at Toy­ota Motor Corp. were up 4.3 per­cent, buoyed by strong truck sales.Strong Feb­ru­ary sales came despite con­tin­ued wor­ry over auto­mat­ic fed­er­al spend­ing cuts, small­er pay­checks because of an expired pay­roll tax break and volatile gas prices, at record lev­els for this time of year.

“There are some very impor­tant and con­struc­tive devel­op­ments in big seg­ments of the econ­o­my,” said Ellen Cromwick-Hugh­es, Ford’s chief econ­o­mist, in a tele­con­fer­ence with ana­lysts and the media.

Those eco­nom­ic indi­ca­tors, which include improved home sales, new con­struc­tion, and an aging vehi­cle fleet, con­tin­ue to push con­sumers to deal­er­ships in waves not seen since before the Great Reces­sion.

 

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