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Auto Sales Hauled Higher by Pickup Trucks

Christina Scolaro
Big Data Download
Auto Sales Hauled Higher by Pickup Trucks

Incentives are driving buyers to automobile showrooms, and it’s proven in April’s U.S. car sales’ reports. General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler Group all reported gains from a year ago. Low interest rates, high used-car prices and attractive lease deals have all drawn buyers.

In what could be an indicator of the health of the larger economy, pickup truck sales are leading the way. Contractors and small business owners are re-stocking fleets and work trucks as their business recovers.

Housing is beginning to improve, and that’s fueling our pickup sales,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. Sales for General Motors.

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GM’s pickup sales rose 23 percent. Sales of the Ford F-Series rose 24 percent, and Chrysler’s Ram Trucks jumped 49 percent.

At the same time, besides contractors having the money to replace older trucks, the newer generation of pickups are more fuel efficient which means less money spent on gas.

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Barring an unexpected event, there's nothing to stop sales from growing even further in the next few years, industry analysts said.

"I don't see us taking a step back, provided the unemployment rate at least holds steady,” said Alec Gutierrez, a senior market analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

On a side note, the biggest increases in Yahoo online search volume came not for the automakers with the highest sales volumes, but for a different group foreign automakers. Searches for Honda and Subaru both spiked by 73 percent in March compared with February, while Saab and BMW searches spiked by 68 percent.

Overall, Toyota, Ford and Honda are the brands that receive the highest number of searches on Yahoo.