NADA Headlines - 07/05/2013 (Plain Text Version)
Nate Amoth has faithfully driven sporty little Japanese and German hatchbacks for years. Until yesterday, when the Baltimore salesman took the keys to a new Ford Focus ST. “The way it drove didn’t remind me at all of other American cars that I’ve driven,” said Amoth, 27, who paid $26,100 for his black-on-black, fully loaded Focus. “It’s nice to see Detroit stepping up to the plate and making things truly worth buying.” General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC captured buyers at a rapid rate in the year’s first half as all three Detroit automakers gained U.S. market share for the first time in 20 years.
Employment increased more than forecast in June, wages picked up and the U.S. jobless rate held close to a four-year low as the world’s largest economy weathered the effect of higher taxes and federal budget cuts. Automakers are one standout in the recovery, enjoying gains in sales fueled by improved confidence and cheap credit. New cars and trucks sold in June at the fastest pace since 2007 as American drivers replaced aging vehicles and a rebound in housing construction moved trucks off dealer lots. That helped new car sales beat estimates last month, giving a lift to General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. Brisk sales are boosting hiring at dealerships. “We would take 10 sales people in a heartbeat,” said Don Hicks, owner of Shortline Auto Group in Aurora, Colorado, which employs about 150 people at four dealerships. “If they were available and trained, or trainable, we’d take another five or six technicians. It’s crazy trying to find people.”
U.S. light-vehicle inventory held steady at the end of June, finishing the month at 3.22 million units, relatively close to May’s 3.21 million but up 15.0% from year-ago. The level is high enough for the industry to easily support another strong sales month following June’s spike to a 67-month peak in the seasonally adjusted annual rate to 15.9 million units.
Germany’s big luxury auto brands, BMW and Daimler’s Mercedes, are in a neck-and-neck race for U.S. buyers. BMW closed almost entirely what had been a significant U.S. sales gap for the year last month, according to data released Tuesday, delivering almost 27,100 of its cars last month, a 25 percent gain from a year earlier. Mercedes moved almost 24,500 last month for a 9.8 percent increase over the year-earlier tally.
General Motors and Honda will work together on hydrogen fuel cell research in the latest in a series of auto industry tie-ups designed to bring the technology to market sooner. Together, engineers from both companies will research and design next-generation hydrogen fuel cell powertrains and storage technologies. The goal is to generate technology in “the 2020 time frame,” GM said in a statement.