WASHINGTON (2/5/15)--Coming off a blistering sales pace in 2014, auto sales started 2015 fast, posting 16.7 million units sold on a seasonally adjusted annualized (SAAR) basis in January, according to data from AutoData Corp.
That pace rises higher than the average for 2014 of 16.5 million units SAAR, and January 2014's pace of 15.9 million SAAR (Economy.com Feb. 3).
"Not only are consumer fundamentals supporting sales, but low gasoline prices have provided an added bonus," said Sophia Koropeckyj, Moody's analyst. "The strong sales pace reflects steady payroll employment gains, a decline in labor market slack, a post-recession high in consumer confidence and inklings of stronger wage growth."
Light-truck sales led the way in January, posting a rate of 9.1 million units SAAR--the highest number since 2005. Light-trucks claimed the highest share of all sales since 2005 as well, at 55%.
Car sales also rebounded in January to the fastest rate of sales in 10 years, according to Moody's, posting a rate of 7.5 million units SAAR in January.
On an annual basis, the six-largest automobile manufacturers recorded double-digit gains in sales in January, although inclement weather in early 2014 severely suppressed sales.
In addition to more readily available auto-financing options, Moody's cited discounts and the growing popularity of leasing as reasons for the healthy sales pace.