NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 03/21/12 -- Domestic auto sales have been on an impressive upswing in 2012 as an improving U.S. economy has boosted demand for vehicles. U.S. auto sales have also benefited from consumers' need to replace aging vehicles, which many delayed during the depths of the economic downturn. The average vehicle on the road is a record 10.8 years old, Reuters reports. The Paragon Report examines the outlook for companies in the Auto Manufacturing industry and provides equity research on General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) and Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA). Access to the full company reports can be found at:
U.S. auto sales rose nearly 16 percent in February and the annual sales rate surged to its best level in four years. The annual sales rate, a closely watched industry yardstick, jumped to 15.1 million vehicles, according to Autodata, the best monthly showing since February 2008, before the financial crisis. Auto makers sold 1,149,396 cars and light trucks last month, up 15.7% from a year ago, Autodata said.
Chrysler posted a February U.S. sales increase of 40 percent compared with the year-ago period, while Ford saw a 14 percent rise, Volkswagen AG was up 42.5 percent, Kia Motors Corp. gained 37.3 percent and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd was up 15.5 percent. GM posted a small 1.1 percent gain over last year despite suffering from poor sales of Buick and Cadillac vehicles.
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Auto sales surged in China last month. Total vehicles sales grew 24.5 percent to 1.57 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said on its website. While February results were strong, China's auto sales have slowed after the government rolled back sales incentives and some cities imposed tough restrictions on car numbers to ease chronic traffic congestion and pollution, The Associated Press reports.
In Europe, car sales across the continent fell nearly 10 percent year-on-year in February, as the debt crisis continues to curtail spending. France reported sales down 20 percent while Italy posted a 19 percent year-on-year drop in car sales last month.
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