Automobile sales show U.S. consumers willing to ignore the slow economic recovery, with spending on vehicles keeping prices high, a research firm said.
Kelley Blue Book, which studies new and used car sales, said the annual sales rate on a seasonally adjusted basis would reach 14.4 million in 2012, with gains in small-car sales outpacing gains in full-size pickup truck sales, The Wall Street Journal reported.
In the study released Thursday, Kelley said sales of new cars in August would climb 19 percent from August 2011. With August 2012 having one more sales day than the same month of 2011, the seasonally adjusted sales gain comes to 14 percent, Kelley said.
In general, the smaller the car, the bigger the gain. Sales are expected to rise 42 percent for subcompact cars, 31 percent for compact cars, 24 percent for mid-sized vehicles and 38 percent for compact-crossover vehicles. With consumers shying away from gas-guzzlers, sales of full-size pickup trucks are expected to show a 6.7 percent increase.
Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co. are expected to show some of the largest year-to-year gains, although the data comes with an asterisk.
The special circumstance for Toyota and Honda is that sales were suppressed in 2011 by an outside-of-market event, the massive earthquake that hit Japan in early March of that year, causing manufacturing disruptions.
Sales for the year are expected to rise 57 percent at Honda, 51 percent at German automaker Volkswagen AG, 37 percent at Toyota, 20 percent at Hyundai Motor Co. of South Korea, 15 percent at Japanese manufacturer Nissan Motor Co., and 9.6 percent at both Chrysler Group LLC and Ford Motor Co.
Sales are forecast to rise 3.4 percent at General Motors Co. >
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