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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7866
JPY
USD
109.25
GBP
USD
0.6139
CAD
USD
1.1120
INR
USD
61.428

Rates may not be current.