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Tom Krisher
Associated Press|ap.org

DETROIT — Full-size pickups once again dominated U.S. auto sales in May, as small businesses — increasingly confident in the economy — raced to replace the aging pickups they held on to during the recession.

Car buyers, too, were attracted by low interest rates and Memorial Day sales. Overall, U.S. consumers bought 1.4 million vehicles in May, up 8 percent from the same month a year ago, according to Autodata Corp.

The results suggest the auto industry will remain a bright spot in an economy that’s been slowed by weak manufacturing. And the boost from the industry will help sustain the economy’s steady job growth. read more »

 

DETROIT — America is getting back to work, and it needs pickup trucks.

Strong truck demand in March drove U.S. auto sales to their highest monthly total since August 2007, as everyone from oil and gas producers to local homebuilders raced to replace the aging trucks they held onto during the recession. Overall auto sales rose 3.4 percent to 1.45 million, according to Autodata Corp.

“I think day-to-day business is the best it’s been in five years,” said Tim Parker, owner of a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealer in Hot Springs, Ark. Parker recently joined a Chrysler program that helps him stock pickups so he has inventory ready when business owners come calling.

March is typically a good month for the auto industry. Many car buyers put tax refund checks toward a down payment. And Japanese automakers, whose fiscal year ends in March, often juice sales with deals to end the year on a high note. read more »

 

DETROIT — Ford is joining with Daimler and Renault-Nissan to speed development of cars that run on hydrogen, with hopes of bringing a vehicle to market in as little as four years.

Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles generate electricity after a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is stored in special high-pressure tanks, and the only emissions are water vapor and heat.

Under the alliance, each company will invest equally in the technology. They plan to develop a common fuel-cell system that the companies will use to power their own vehicles. The companies also plan to take advantage of their combined size to reduce costs. read more »

 

DETROIT — The U.S. government’s short stint in the auto business is coming to an end.

The Treasury Department said Dec. 19 that it will sell its remaining stake in General Motors by early 2014, writing the final chapter of a $50 billion bailout that saved the auto giant but stoked a heated national debate about the government’s role in private industry.

Taxpayers are sure to lose billions of dollars in the deal, even though GM has bounced back from the darkest days of 2008, when it almost ran out of cash.

The company has racked up $16 billion in profits during the past three years and added more than 2,000 American workers. Now GM is looking forward to the day when it can shed the stigma of government ownership and bury the derisive moniker of “Government Motors,” which it says kept customers away from dealerships. read more »

 

DETROIT — Americans found plenty of reasons to buy new cars in September, making auto sales a bright spot in the economy for yet another month.

Total U.S. sales rose 13 percent from a year earlier to nearly 1.2 million. Analysts think sales could hit 14.3 million this year, up from 12.8 million last year.

Low interest rates, aging vehicles that need replacement and appealing new models are fueling this year’s consistently strong sales, says Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for the Edmunds.com automotive website.

“That’s a good combination to get people shopping again,” Caldwell says. “That’s really what sells cars.” read more »

 

DETROIT — Big pickups carried U.S. auto sales to their highest level in three years.

Demand for full-size pickups jumped 16 percent in August, helping to make it the strongest sales month since August 2009. Overall auto sales increased 20 percent from a year earlier to nearly 1.3 million, according to Autodata Corp.

The rising demand shows that businesses need to replace aging trucks and feel more confident about the recovery in U.S. housing — an industry where pickups are essential for hauling equipment and crews.

“Businesses don’t usually go buy a fleet of trucks unless they have good reason to believe that business will be ramping up,” said Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence for the TrueCar.com auto pricing service. read more »

 
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