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Economics Discuss Chrysler Sales Rise 16% to Lengthen Monthly Streak at the Political Forums; More good news huh? Chrysler Group LLC said its January U.S. vehicle sales increased 16 percent, driven by demand for ...

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Old 02-01-2013, 08:10 AM
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Default Chrysler Sales Rise 16% to Lengthen Monthly Streak

More good news huh?

Chrysler Group LLC said its January U.S. vehicle sales increased 16 percent, driven by demand for its Dodge models, putting the carmaker within one month of tying its best streak of gains in 18 years.

Sales for Chrysler, majority owned by Fiat SpA (F), climbed to 117,731 cars and light trucks from 101,149 a year earlier, the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company said today in a statement. The automaker topped the average 15 percent gain of 11 analysts’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey. The Dodge Dart compact had its best month since its introduction in June.
Chrysler will join Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Honda Motor Co. among automakers benefiting from about 500,000 more returning customers whose leases expire this year compared with 2012, according to researcher Edmunds.com. The phenomenon shows the auto market, a bright spot in the U.S. economy, still has further room to recover from the recession that ended in 2009.

“We’ve had more consumers coming back into the market to buy, and they’re getting financing,” Melinda Zabritski, a credit analyst at Experian Automotive, said in an interview before Chrysler’s results. “We’ll see returns similar to what we had pre-recession.”

Chrysler’s sales gain in January extended its stretch of year-over-year increases to 34 months, one short of the 35-month streak that the company had in the period ending December 1994. The company sold 7,154 Darts, up from 6,105 in December. Deliveries of the Dodge Journey sport-utility vehicle almost doubled from a year earlier to 8,179, and the Avenger sedan surged 69 percent to 9,628.
Lease Returners

Automakers in 2012 managed to sell the most cars and light trucks in the U.S. in five years with fewer off-lease customers going back to dealerships. In all, about 2 million lease returns will occur this year, according to Santa Monica, California- based Edmunds’ estimates.

The auto industry contributed 14 percent of the 2.1 percent average rate of growth for gross domestic product in the recovery that began in the third quarter of 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data from the Commerce Department.

In 2009, with the economy in trouble, leases -- which usually last for three years -- dropped dramatically. Americans entered into about half as many new-vehicle leases in 2009 compared with two years earlier. Leasing bounced back strongly the next year, and those leases are about to expire.

General Motors Co. (GM), Ford Motor Co. (F) and Toyota will lead a U.S. auto market that expands for a fourth consecutive year in 2013, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales probably will climb to 15.1 million, the average of 18 estimates, from 14.5 million in 2012.
Shares Climb

GM shares gained 43 percent for the six months ended yesterday, as vehicle demand has returned, far outpacing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s 8.6 percent increase. Over the same period, Ford rose 40 percent and Toyota added 45 percent.

U.S. light-vehicle sales may begin the year with a 14 percent increase in January to 1.04 million, the average of nine analysts’ estimates. The annualized industry sales rate, which is adjusted for seasonal trends, may have been 15.2 million, the average of 17 analysts’ estimates.

Chrysler forecast a 15.5 million industry sales pace for January in its statement today, including medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which typically account for at least 200,000 deliveries per year.

Toyota and Tokyo-based Honda (7267), whose captive finance units lead the new-vehicle leasing market, may post the biggest increases in U.S. sales for January. Deliveries probably rose 22 percent for Toyota City, Japan-based Toyota and 21 percent for Honda, the average of eight analysts’ estimates.
15 Million

GM, which ceded global auto sales leadership to Toyota last year, may have sold 13 percent more light vehicles in January than a year earlier, the average of 11 analysts’ estimates. Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford and Chrysler probably boosted deliveries by 17 percent and 15 percent respectively, also the averages of 11 estimates.

Ford and Detroit-based GM, the two largest automakers by U.S. sales, both have issued 2013 forecasts calling for the industry to exceed 15 million deliveries.

Nissan Motor Co. (7201), which owns a finance unit that closely follows Toyota and Honda in originating leases, probably sold 3.5 percent more vehicles in January than a year earlier, the average of seven estimates. Nissan is based in Yokohama, Japan.

Analysts estimate that Seoul-based Hyundai Motor Co. (005380) and Kia Motors Corp. (000270) may combine to sell 7.4 percent more vehicles in January compared with a year earlier, the average of six estimates. Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen AG (VOW) likely boosted deliveries of VW and Audi brand vehicles in January by 20 percent, the average of four estimates.

To contact the reporter on this story: Craig Trudell in Southfield, Michigan at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net

Chrysler Sales Rise 16% to Lengthen Monthly Streak - Bloomberg
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