There is fantastic news from the automobile industry. According to Auto News, major car manufacturers are reporting their best February since the year 2001. Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Fiat all posted double digit sales increases, resulting in a total domestic increase of 6.8 percent across the board. Hopefully, this promising news from an industry that has received a barrage of criticism in recent history bodes well for the economy at large.
Ford in particular had an astounding month, boasting a hearty 20 percent increase in sales. Honda experienced the second largest increase at 13 percent, with Fiat at 12 percent and Nissan at 11 percent. Interestingly enough, Honda and Nissan, not Ford, claim to have set records for February.
All this optimism aside, not all major car manufacturers experienced such cupid-tinged good fortune. General Motors cited a 1.5 percent decrease in sales due to a thirty-nine percent reduction in deliveries to “fleet customers.” However, retail sales actually rose 6.6 percent. So, while overall General Motors did not attain the same sales increase, they did see some positive trends.
As of now, it seems Volkswagon is experiencing the greatest difficulty considering the fairly recent news regarding its suppression of information to shareholders. In fact, they have admitted that former CEO Martin Winterkorn was notified of the emission irregularity in 2014, yet failed to disseminate the information until September 2015. The numbers reflect the public’s dissatisfaction.
In fact, VW’s sales plummeted by 13 percent this past month. It is interesting to note however, that VW’s Audi brand remains mostly untouched amidst the scandal. Actually, Audi named a 2.3 percent gain in sales, which is the company’s 62nd consecutive month of record US sales. So even in the wake of such infamous scandal, Audi has managed to successfully evade negative publicity, a triumph to say the least.
Of course, this is all just a very broad overview of an absolutely massive market; and yet, one cannot help but feel encouraged. There is so much negativity characterizing recent news of the economy, but here we have hard data pointing otherwise. Perhaps it is merely due to falling gas prices, but I hope it is indicative of substantiated and sustained economic improvement. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I will enjoy what is before me: hope.