Posted by Dale Buss on September 14, 2012 03:31 PM
It's a good thing for the economy that American consumers are still looking for new automobiles and that the industry has made an unprecedented number of worthy models available to them to buy.
A very good thing, actually: The continuation in August of the U.S. auto industry's three-year-long recovery ensured that overall American retail sales that month increased by the most in six months, a 0.9-percent gain, slightly more than forecast. The rising price of gasoline contributed as well to the slightly-higher-than-forecast total.
And actually, it's only lately that auto executives themselves have come to believe that their sales recovery — which has amounted to about 10 percent to 11 percent year on year for the last couple of years and looks to do so again this year — is sustainable to some degree on top of whatever else is happening in the economy.
Such is the power of so-called "pent-up demand" that has seen the age of the U.S. "fleet" top an average of ten years, meaning that so many Americans are stepping into an actual need for a new vehicles these days that this powerful feeder of consumer motivation so far has overpowered many other forces arrayed in the opposite direction, including still-higher gasoline prices, persistent U.S. joblessness, moribund consumer confidence, and anxiety in advance of the November elections.Continue reading...