New car and truck deliveries on the US market have surpassed the frigid winter to a stronger than expected sales figure, with the industry now tipped to have a bigger chance of surging past the 17 million vehicles mark for the first time since 2001.

According to analysts, while the year is still “young”, numerous positive signs are already arising – such as record-high lease penetration in early February. Additionally, consumer confidence and spending are soaring at the fastest rate in nine years. That’s also because for the first time in five years the consumer prices recorded a year-over-year drop – increasing the family budget for a new vehicle. “There’s little risk for 2015 that we won’t continue on this track and be at that 17 million unit level,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive. The progress comes even as the snow turned relentless yet again – 100 inches and counting in Boston, subzero temperatures elsewhere, with the coldest Detroit February since 1875. Still, auto sales proved stronger than during last year’s equally harsh winter – with the February month coming as the 12th straight month of sales increases.

Automakers will report US sales on March 3, with the transactions counted through Monday, March 2. According to industry experts and analysts, the deliveries are on pace to surge 8 to 9 percent for the month, the best pace for the month since 2002 and lifting the total light-vehicle sales for the past 12 months to 16.8 million autos. If overall 2015 sales would reach 17 million units, they would grow 3 percent from last year’s tally of 16.5 million vehicles.

Via Automotive News



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