U.S. auto sales continue to power ahead, driven by cheap gas, and a surging economy. Bobbi Rebell reports.
It is all about the gas pump - and what that extra spending power does for consumers and their willingness to spend. Auto makers turning in a stunning November - all six of the top six automakers sold more cars and trucks than analysts expected - the annualized sales rate for the month was about 17.1 million vehicles, the best pace for that month since 2003 Reuters Ben Klayman: SOUNDBITE: BEN KLAYMAN, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Everyone had really good results. The month is heading towards a really strong sales pace. A lot of people are talkig about sales are going to end around 16 and a half million this year, and maybe even top 17 million next year. They are talking about- today the Ford Chief Economist said that gas prices today versus even just September that consumers have an additional $180 million a day extra buying power versus just a couple of months ago because of the lower gas prices. " What is selling is also a reflection of the cheap gas - consumers willing to pay up for big vehicles like SUV's and crossover SUVs. According to TrueCar - the average prices on full-size pickups in November topped $40,000 for the first time. TrueCar's Eric Lyman: SOUNDBITE: ERIC LYMAN, VICE PRESIDENT OF AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHTS, TRUECAR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We are expecting to end 2014 with about 16.4 million sales so we are getting back to that pre-recession peak that we saw of about 17 million units and the fundamentals are strong in the automotive industry. We are seeing it lead the economic recovery in the U.S. market overall." One area to watch: financing. It's been rising and the terms have been getting longer - a sign consumers may be stretching to finally get the cars they have been waiting for.