Are we going to see vehicle sales really rise soon?

Jul 19, 2011

All the talk of late is about the deficit. And much of it should be, because the national debt seems preposterous, especially to rank-and-file Americans doing their best to keep the economy going (and by rank-and-file, I mean everyone except all the members of the House and Senate, who have great-paying jobs and the best of benefits and perks, and somehow keep forgetting how their actions/inactions affect the rest of us).

The economy, however, has been doing better than most people think (not good, but a hair better; still, plus-9% unemployment is just wrong). Retail sales of many products in June improved (tghough we’re still paying too much for gas and diesel at the pump, so shouldn’t that money be trickling down to help boost the rest of the economy?); June 2011 certainly was better than June 2010 (more than 8% better). And June was better than May for vehicle sale —  but of course they weren’t exactly stellar (May sales were cool, when they should have been warm; though June perked up, but not as expected); fleets and individuals, though, are finding ways to buy (and all of those used cars and their upwardly mobile prices the past month or so have put some cash into the economy).

Jeff Schuster, J.D. Powers’ executive director of global forecasting, said: “Provided that the economy decides to cooperate, the automotive summer slowdown will only be a speed bump, and a return of a measurable recovery pace is still expected in the second half of 2011.”

Here we are in mid-July, at the beginning of 2011’s 2nd half. I’m going to be optimistic and agree with Schuster. Toyota and Honda are making miraculous recoveries since the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan (we haven’t even yet finished with the August 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster’s effects). It won’t be long till these Japan automakers (especially Toyota), will mount a sales battle royal among all carmakers to recover what was lost to Ford, GM, even Fiat/Chrysler and others that captured the advantage in the aftermath of the Japan crises. Watch for discounts and added spiffs to move vehicle sales.

The fall car-buying season is just ahead. If the politics in D.C. don’t get in the way and make an economic-recovery-gun-shy America sit too tight on their spending dollars, don’t you think people will move toward buying those trucks and cars we know they want? And won’t that boost the aftermarket?