Easier Financing Fuels Robust March for U.S. Auto Sales

Chrysler Group reported today that it sold 163,381 units for March, a 34 percent increase over a year ago as U.S. auto sales continue a robust performance fueled by wider availability of financing.
Chrysler Group recorded its 24th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains and its 10th-consecutive month of sales increases of at least 20 percent.
Every Chrysler Group model in production for more than 12 months recorded a year-over-year sales increase in March. The automaker also logged its best first quarter since 2008.
Meanwhile, Ford Motor will show a 5 percent sales gain over March 2010, and its best new-vehicle U.S. sales in five years, Mark Fields, Ford Americas president, told CNBC.
Over all, industry analysts said they expected automakers to sell more than 1.4 million vehicles in March, about 15 percent more than a year ago and the most since 2007.
Unseasonably warm weather for much of the United States helped sales surge, as did an improving economy and greater availability of auto financing.
Even higher gas prices had a positive impact, with more consumers looking at improved-mileage vehicles.
“The combination of credit availability, an improving economy, pent-up demand and even high fuel prices encouraging people to acquire newer more fuel-efficient vehicles are all helping to drive industry sales,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO – Dodge Brand and Head of U.S. Sales.
Pent-up demand after years of Americans holding on to their old vehicles at last is being released, helped by credit that is more readily available to a wider group of buyers, including some with less than perfect credit scores, according to Edmunds.com.
“Vehicle trade-in rates are consistently higher than ever before, and average credit scores for new car buyers are at their lowest levels since the first half of 2008,” said Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *