Many automakers reported strong sales for February as Americans snapped up smaller cars to offset high gas prices.
Companies from Ford to Volkswagen reported double-digit increases in U.S. sales last month. Even General Motors, which pulled back on big discounts, eked out a slight gain.
The results show that industry is on pace for a third straight year of improving sales after bottoming in 2009 during the financial crisis. Carmakers see several encouraging trends. The average car on U.S. roads is now a record 10.8 years, so there is an increasing need to replace older vehicles. Credit availability is improving, bringing more people back into the market. Japanese automakers have largely recovered from last year’s earthquake and now have more cars to sell. And consumer confidence rose dramatically in February, making people more likely to consider a big-ticket purchase.
via Bottom Line.