WASHINGTON (2/3/16)--Vehicle sales soared past analyst predictions in January, jumping out to a quick start in 2016 with a 17.6 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate of sales.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a pace of 17.2 million.
“The result is well above expectations, which were dampened by a snowstorm that crippled major population centers during one weekend of the month and the turmoil in financial markets,” said Sophia Koropeckyj, Moody’s analyst (Economy.com Feb. 2). “The healthy pace of sales reflects rising incomes, access to credit and consumer confidence.”
Despite the surge, the pace fell from the 10-year highs reached in the fall (MarketWatch Feb. 2).
Largely driven by bottomed-out oil prices, light trucks flew off the lots in January at a rate of 10.15 million, up from 9.94 million. Car sales, on the other hand, inched up to 7.43 million from 7.4 million during the month.
In 2015, car sales reported their fastest rate of sales since the turn of the century. Last year also marked the first year on record that the pace of sales topped 18 million for three consecutive months.