We’ve been hearing it everywhere we turn: The auto industry is recovering well, despite economic uncertainties. In fact, light vehicle sales for May totaled 1.3 million, up 26% from May 2011 and on track for a SAAR of 13.8 million. Sounds pretty great, right?
As May is typically a strong month for auto sales, some manufacturers reported their best sales totals in years. Still, the economic outlook has worsened. Between lower consumer confidence and weak unemployment numbers, the vehicle sales outlook is murky. Confidence among U.S. consumers fell in May to 64.9 — a four-month low — down from 68.7 in April, according to the Conference Board’s index. And the Labor Department's May jobs report showed an increase of only 69,000 jobs, the weakest growth in a year. The unemployment rate rose to 8.2%, the first uptick since last June.
What's your take? Will new-vehicle sales continue to rise despite the negative economic factors?