US car sales are surviving the storm...
From mini cars to monster pickups, sales of new cars and trucks are surging in the US - easing concerns that Americans would be turned off by slower hiring and other scary headlines.
Automakers sold nearly 1.3 million cars and trucks in June, up 22 per cent from the same month last year. Chrysler posted its best June in five years. Sales soared at Volkswagen, which is on track for its best year in the US since 1973.
The results allayed fears that the car market’s momentum had stalled. US sales were on track to reach an annual mark of 14.5 million after the first four months of the year. But the annual pace dropped to 13.8 million in May, as the stock market plunged and hiring slowed. June brought more bad news about jobs growth and consumer confidence.
But buyers didn’t stay away last month. In fact, June’s sales put the US on track to sell 14.1 million cars this year, according to Autodata Corp. And if sales stay at that level for all of 2012, it will be the industry’s best year since 2007.
Falling petrol prices, cheaper loans and new models like the Ford Escape and Dodge Dart drew buyers. A revived housing market lifted sales of pickups. There was strong demand from people who bought cars in the middle of the last decade and need to replace them.
Sales hit a high of 17 million in 2005; those cars are now seven years old.
“If a family in Iowa’s only mode of transportation is on the fritz, they are going to buy a replacement, even if Spain’s economy is on the brink of collapse,” says Alec Gutierrez, market analyst at Kelley Blue Book.
Falling fuel prices meant buyers were more likely to consider bigger cars and SUVs in June, not just the small cars that sold well at the beginning of the year.
Jesse Toprak, of car buying site TrueCar.com thinks that even if sales soften a little, they’re still on track to reach 14.4 million by the end of the year.
That’s better than last year’s 12.8 million, and it’s far better than the 30-year low of 10.4 million during the recession in 2009.
“This is a healthy and sustainable rate of recovery,” he said.