US Feb auto sales jump 7 per­cent

The Pak Banker - - 6BUSINESS -

U.S. Fe­bru­ary auto sales soared to a 15-year high for the month, car­mak­ers re­ported on Tues­day, in the lat­est sign of con­tin­ued con­sumer con­fi­dence.

Auto sales last month rose about 7 per­cent, helped by low gaso­line prices, avail­able and low-in­ter­est credit and higher wages.

Ward­sAuto said Fe­bru­ary sales on an an­nu­al­ized ba­sis was 17.43 mil­lion ve­hi­cles, down from 17.45 mil­lion in Jan­uary but up from 16.32 mil­lion last Fe­bru­ary.

Over­all, Ward­sAuto said Fe­bru­ary sales of 1.34 mil­lion was 6.7 per­cent higher than a year ago.

Au­to­data Corp also counted 1.34 mil­lion in sales but said the in­crease from a year ago was 6.9 per­cent and the an­nu­al­ized sales rate for Fe­bru­ary was 17.54 mil­lion.

De­spite gloomy talk about the econ­omy on the U.S. pres­i­den­tial cam­paign trail, auto sales and other data re­leased on Tues­day in­di­cated the econ­omy was re­gain­ing mo­men­tum.

An­a­lysts have ex­pressed con­cerns about a cycli­cal fall-off in ve­hi­cle sales af­ter sus­tained gains since the 20082009 deep re­ces­sion, but there were few signs of slow­down.

Ford Mo­tor Co's (F.N) sales rose 20 per­cent as its SUV and cross­over ve­hi­cles soared 28 per­cent from last Fe­bru­ary. F-Se­ries pickup trucks, a leader in U.S. sales for more than three decades, gained 10 per­cent.

Ford stock was up 4.4 per­cent at $13.06. Some 36 per­cent of Ford's sales were into fleets, which in­clude sales to busi­nesses, govern­ment, and rental agen­cies, up from 30 per­cent a year ago.

No. 1 Gen­eral Mo­tors Co (GM.N) re­ported that sales fell 1.5 per­cent. They would have been higher, GM said, if it did not cut ship­ments to rental com­pa­nies by 16,500, or 39 per­cent, from a year ear­lier. GM shares were up 1.9 per­cent at $29.99.

Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp (7203.T)(TM.N), No. 3 in the U.S. mar­ket, said sales rose 5 per­cent in the month. Its U.S.-traded shares, or ADRs, were up 2.2 per­cent to $106.42.

Jesse Hur­witz, a Bar­clays econ­o­mist, said the strong auto sales in­di­cated that "U.S. house­holds fun­da­men­tally re­main healthy. La­bor mar­kets have con­tin­ued to im­prove, wages have started to rise mod­estly."

Sam Bullard, a Wells Fargo econ­o­mist, said "Con­sumers, while still cau­tious over­all, are con­fi­dent enough in their own per­sonal eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion and the out­look to be able to pur­chase a car," Bullard said.

U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing ac­tiv­ity con­tracted in Fe­bru­ary, but there were signs the em­bat­tled sec­tor was sta­bi­liz­ing. Also, con­struc­tion spend­ing surged in Jan­uary to the high­est since 2007.

A neg­a­tive sign was a drop in sales for Ger­man lux­ury car­mak­ers Mercedes-Benz of Daim­ler AG, down 0.3 per­cent and BMW, down 11 per­cent.

Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles U.S. auto sales rose 12 per­cent on strength in its Jeep SUV and Ram trucks. Shares were up 7.3 per­cent at $7.15.

Sales at Honda Mo­tor Co jumped 13 per­cent. Nis­san Mo­tor Co sales were up 10.5 per­cent. But Volk­swa­gen AG sales, in­clud­ing its VW, Audi and Porsche brands, fell 7 per­cent. VW brand sales fell 13 per­cent. Audi rose 2 per­cent. Last year, U.S. auto sales hit a record 17.4 mil­lion ve­hi­cles.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.