US: January sales the best in seven years image

Most of the global automakers active on the US market – the second largest in the world – had reasons to celebrate when January figures came out, most of them posting their best sales in more than seven years.

The surging deliveries were fueled in part by the addition of a weekend and workday above last year’s January, but the pace of sales was anyways very strong, driven by low gasoline prices and a falling unemployment rate that also boosted the overall economy. Continued availability of cheap credit and the overall rising age of the US motor fleet are also expected to positively impact the market this year and lead to the sixth straight annual increase. “This is going to be seen as a good month and a continuation of the trends we’ve seen,” commented Maryann Keller, an independent automotive consultant in Stamford, Connecticut. US light-vehicle sales last month jumped 14 percent to 1.15 million units last month, fueled by continuously high deliveries of sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate for January was 16.7 million autos – above forecasts for a 16.5 million SAAR and showing that American consumers decided to ride out the recovery wave. The figure was also the best for a January month in nine years and rose tremendously from last year’s SAAR of 15.3 million – when weather seriously crippled dealer showroom traffic. It was another month when light-truck sales across the nation – soaring by 19 percent – were way ahead of the 7.8 percent growth registered by traditional passenger cars.

Via Automotive News