Auto sales were relatively disappointing during the first two months of the year, partially due to poor weather that may have kept consumers from visiting dealerships. However, the latest figures from car companies show a reversal of this trend, with sales of new cars and trucks gaining steam, especially in the second half of March.
Factors that contributed to the rebound in sales include low interest rates, an improving job market and attractive new vehicles being offered by manufacturers, according to Cars.com analyst Jesse Toprak. He noted that these same elements have been driving higher sales since the end of the recession.
Some brands fared better than others. Chrysler had a big month, with sales rising 13 percent, reportedly due to strong demand for Ram pickup trucks and new Jeep Cherokee SUVs. Subaru saw its sales rise more than 20 percent. Bill Fay, head of Toyota's U.S. sales division, announced that the company's sales were up 5 percent in March and he is optimistic the industry's momentum will carry it into April.
Multiple analysts who spoke to the Associated Press say that this year's sales will likely be larger than the total for 2013, but several have lowered their forecasts and indicated that they believe the post-recession surge is reaching a "natural peak."
"We are certainly transitioning from a market that was in hyper-recovery mode to a mature market where double-digit gains will be increasingly difficult to attain," Toprak told the AP.
Not all auto manufacturers posted positive results. Volkswagen, Hyundai and Honda all posted modest declines, while GM has yet to report its sales, citing a computer issue that is causing delays. However, it is expected that the latter company may post disappointing figures, due to the impact of a high-profile recall related to a safety issue.
The impact of the manufacturing problem at GM, which caused faulty ignition switches to be installed in millions of vehicles, underscores the importance of keeping the assembly line running smoothly and reacting quickly to problems that could affect consumers' perception of a brand. Auto manufacturing is complex, and any issues with machinery on the factory floor could cause significant problems.
Manufacturers that are in need of replacement parts for their equipment should reach out to a quality CNC machine shop to ensure that their order is handled correctly. Windham Manufacturing's central location in Dallas, Texas, allows us to offer dependable, cost-effective shipping from coast to coast.