Demand for Pickups Lifts Auto, Truck Sales to Six-Year High

Demand for Pickups Lifts Auto, Truck Sales to Six-Year High

When the housing market is strong, there is renewed demand for construction and remodeling, requiring more reliable pickup trucks.

That’s the scenario that unfolded throughout 2013, with pickup sales helping fuel a banner year overall for auto and truck sales.

On top of this, mechanics got more business, people bought more Truck covers to protect their new vehicles, there was an increase in truck modifications, and people were looking for more accessories like trailers for their trucks. It just goes to show that if there’s one good year for a sector in the industry, every sector will benefit from it.

Low interest rates also helped quite a bit as automakers had their best 12-month stretch in six years.

U.S. sales increased 8 percent to 15.6 million units in 2013, mostly from the surge in demand for pickups.

The most notable trend was the resurgent full-size pickup truck market, bolstered by the housing recovery. Contractors had the confidence to replace aging trucks as U.S. automakers continued to dominate, with Ford at the top again with its big F-Series. It remains the top-selling truck and the best-selling vehicle overall in the U.S. market.

The F-Series propelled Ford to an overall sales increase of 10.8 percent.

Chrysler Group sales were up 9 percent in 2013, compared with 2012. That’s the fourth-consecutive year of Chrysler Group sales growth.

GM sales jumped 7 percent for all of 2013. Incoming CEO Mary Barra will enjoy about a half-point higher market share than a year ago.

However, sales eased in December for all three major automakers, with Ford, GM and Chrysler all reporting lower-than-expected sales figures Friday.

The slowdown in sales towards the end of the year has helped reinforce an expectation in the industry of an easing of demand in 2014.

A slowdown is inevitable, analysts say, after so many people have purchased new vehicles since the financial crisis. Moreover, newer cars and trucks tend to last longer, and a stronger overall economic recovery would be needed to maintain the vehicle sales pace of the last few years.

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