Low Gas Prices Help Auto Sales Heat Up 2014, from MediaPost.
Gasoline prices are incredibly low. I was upstate last week and had to do a double take: It was close to $2 a gallon. December’s strong sales numbers certainly reflect that fact, as the month was driven by an appetite for crossovers, SUVs and pickups. Gasoline prices won’t stay low for long, and most consumers understand the inherent volatility at the pump. So the influence of dollar-per-gallon on auto sales might have as much to do with the fuel-efficiency technology SUVs/crossovers and cars have now. It might just make it easier for a skittish consumer to consider an SUV, even if they have one eye watching the gas station signs like a hawk.
Oh, and lower gasoline prices mean a little more cash in hand. Enough to influence auto-shopping choices such as whether to buy a new car or a “pre-owned” one? For the optimists, absolutely. GM and Chrysler are both probably very optimistic right now. General Motors’ economists said 2014 would end up being a 16.6-million unit year, capping a five-year climb-out from the recession, where sales were a notch above 10 million in 2009.
FCA U.S. (formerly Chrysler Group), and GM had 20% and 19% December increases, respectively. For the full year, GM is up 5% and FCA 16% in the United States. The truck boom helped FCA, with its Jeep division getting a record year, with a 41% increase in volume, and Ram was up nearly 25% for the year. GMC, GM’s truck division, increased 23%.