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Title: U.S. Auto Sales Top Estimates as GM, Ford Beat Projections
Source: Bloomberg
URL Source: http://www.sfgate.com/business/bloo ... es-as-GM-Ford-Beat-3681995.php
Published: Jul 3, 2012
Author: Craig Trudell
Post Date: 2012-07-03 16:40:59 by Brian S
Keywords: None
Views: 967
Comments: 1

July 3 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC reported U.S. auto sales for June that topped analysts’ estimates, helping the industry surpass projections and stay on pace for the best year since 2007.

U.S. auto sales may have accelerated to faster than a 14 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate, GM and Chrysler said in e-mailed statements. The forecasts top the 13.8 million light-vehicle pace that was the average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The auto-industry sales provide a bright spot in the U.S. economy that has been hindered by persistent unemployment and weakening consumer confidence. Analysts under-estimated demand for most automakers’ vehicles after May sales came in lower than projected. June sales were bolstered by holiday promotions that drew consumers and by higher sales to fleet customers.

“A lot of analysts -- ourselves included -- were cautious going into June with the unemployment rate inching up, consumer confidence dropping and the volatility going on in Europe,” Alec Gutierrez, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book in Irvine, California, said in a telephone interview. “It’s just a testament to the strength of consumer demand for new vehicles despite all the negative news out there.”

GM sales climbed 16 percent last month, beating the 7.6 percent increase that was the average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Deliveries rose 20 percent for Chrysler and 7.1 percent for Ford, topping analysts’ average estimates for gains of 18 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively. Nissan Motor Co. sales rose 28 percent, exceeding the 21 percent average estimate.

Economic Disconnect

The U.S. auto industry has zoomed back since 2009 when GM and Chrysler restructured in government-backed bankruptcies, threatening the viability of suppliers and thousands of jobs. Light-vehicle sales this year may reach 14.3 million, the average of 16 analysts’ estimates, which would be 38 percent more than the 10.4 million total in 2009.

“There’s a little bit of disconnect between what we’re seeing in the economy and what we’re seeing in the auto industry,” Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at IHS Automotive, said in a telephone interview. “For the average consumer in middle America, they don’t really care what the euro is doing. If they need a car, they’re not thinking whether Greece is going to exit the euro zone from their Chevy dealership.”

Toyota, Honda

Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. led the industry with June sales gains of 60 percent and 49 percent, respectively. The Japan-based automakers missed eight analysts’ average estimate for increases of 66 percent and 51 percent.

GM said the annual selling rate may have topped 14 million light vehicles in June, according to a statement. Chrysler, controlled by Fiat SpA, forecast a 14.4 million industry selling rate, including medium-and heavy-duty trucks, in its statement. Excluding such vehicles usually lowers the rate by about 300,000 units.

The pace may be in the mid-14 million range, including medium- and heavy-duty trucks, Ford said in a conference call. Last month’s selling rate for light vehicles was 13.8 million, missing estimates for a 14.4 million pace.

Marketing campaigns tied to tomorrow’s U.S. Independence Day holiday helped boost sales in the last week of the month, said Ken Czubay, Ford’s U.S. sales chief.

Holiday Spending

“We definitely saw an improvement in the last seven, eight, nine days,” Czubay said today on a conference call. “It’s always been a good time to buy around the Fourth of July. I think ourselves and our competitors came out, causing a good stir in the marketplace.” Incentive spending was down slightly from May, he said, adding that new models helped attract buyers.

Ford said sales of the Escape sport-utility vehicle climbed 28 percent to 28,500, while deliveries of the Fusion sedan rose 17 percent to 24,433.

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#1. To: Brian S (#0)

The auto-industry sales provide a bright spot in the U.S. economy that has been hindered by persistent unemployment and weakening consumer confidence. Analysts under-estimated demand for most automakers’ vehicles after May sales came in lower than projected. June sales were bolstered by holiday promotions that drew consumers and by higher sales to fleet customers.

Excuse me?

Which Holiday is that?

And who are the 'fleet customers'?

Depart of Defense....;}

mcgowanjm  posted on  2012-07-04   8:24:01 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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