When automakers report U.S. April sales tomorrow, they will be up strongly for the sixth month in a row. The U.S. auto industry’s annual selling rate will be 15.25 million vehicles in April, according to economists polled by Thomson Reuters. Here is why:
- Gas prices have been steadily declining since February.
- Housing is up, propelling both real demand for pickups, and a feeling of newfound affluence.
- Kelley Blue Book expects large pickup truck sales to be up 26 percent in April, the largest jump of any major vehicle segment and more than double the industry’s overall auto sales increase during the month.
- Compact crossovers, such as the Ford Escape and Honda Motor Co’s CR-V, are expected to be up 23 percent. Together, trucks and crossovers account for nearly a quarter of the U.S. auto market in April, up from about 21 percent a year ago, KBB data show.
- Truck sales may push GM’s U.S. market share to 18 percent in April, up from about 17 percent in March.