News / Economy

US Auto Sales Surge 27 Percent in February

Multimedia

Auto sales jumped sharply in the United States last month as consumers came back to showrooms to check out the newest models.  The world's top two automakers gained the most traction in February, bolstered in part by consumers migrating to more fuel-efficient vehicles.  Toyota and General Motors posted the biggest year-over-year gains but other automakers are also reporting robust sales.

Auto dealerships enjoyed their best month since August 2009, when the government's cash for clunkers program gave the industry a much needed boost.  Auto analyst George Magliano says U.S. sales surged 27 percent in February, easily beating already high expectations.

"We are getting this with less incentives, better pricing, higher transaction prices," he said. "The mix of vehicles is better. The people are buying the top end of the line as opposed to the entry model."

General Motors, which emerged from bankruptcy last year, led the pack with a 46 percent increase in business.  And number one Toyota, which was hurt by massive recalls last year, was up 42 percent.

Ford Motor Company, the only U.S. automaker to refuse a bailout, gained 14 percent - while Chrysler posted a 13 percent increase ahead of its public offering expected later this year.

Ford sales analyst George Pipas attributed the higher numbers to improved consumer confidence and pent-up demand.

"Consumers have been sitting on the sidelines for two years and deferring purchases of automobiles," he said. "And so one of the built up things in our industry is that now the age of cars and trucks on the road is over 10 years and that's a historic high. So at some point in time and in fact already we are starting to see those vehicles being traded for new cars and trucks."

But the gains may be temporary.  Investors fear rising oil prices due to the unrest in Libya could foil the economic recovery, leaving consumers with less money to buy cars.  Magliano disagrees, saying higher gas prices might actually be a selling point.

"With gasoline prices higher, certain people might want to go out there and get a much more fuel-efficient vehicle and I don't mean even a hybrid or an electric vehicle which they could do, but the gasoline engine vehicles get 25, 30 percent better mileage today than they did three or four years ago," he said.

Auto executives say cheaper leases and easier credit helped boost the industry's bottom line. Based on last month's rate, total U.S. sales could top 13 million vehicles this year.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9211
JPY
USD
119.18
GBP
USD
0.6722
CAD
USD
1.2509
INR
USD
62.518

Rates may not be current.