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.