Porsche - its Boxster shown here - delivered February's biggest sales gain.
For the last several years, automotive sales have helped carry the struggling economy. This time, however, the recovering housing market appears to be giving a boost to the auto industry.
February sales showed unexpectedly solid momentum, automakers are reporting today, despite concerns about recent fuel price spikes and the potential damage that the ongoing budget battle in Washington could cause to a still-fragile economy.
As in recent months, cheap financing and pent-up demand helped propel the car market, but industry analysts say other factors helped drive a roughly 7% increase for February in the sales of new cars, trucks and crossovers.
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“The housing sector has now joined auto sales in propelling the U.S. economy forward,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales operations for General Motors, which reported a 7% increase, year-over-year. “More importantly, the recovery in new home construction is reinforcing the underlying improvement in auto buying conditions, especially for pickups.”