Will the U.S. auto market rebound? Most likely, according to data from Edmunds.com. Edmunds reported that 14.5 million cars and light trucks were sold in 2012, and predicts 15 million will be sold in 2013. Trucks are selling very well, with light duty trucks seeing 11.3% YTD growth, while cars are seeing 3.1% growth.
The rebound in the construction industry is boosting demand for pickup trucks, which is greatly benefiting Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s F-Series. The Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) F-Series has sold 227,873 units YTD, which is 19.1% YTD growth, and it’s the best-selling car/truck in the U.S. market right now (according to WSJ data). This is far outpacing the rest of the industry, and is largely due to the rebound in the construction industry.
Yet, even with this growth, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) are lagging the S&P 500 by 6% YTD. While plenty of naysayers will point toward massive losses in Europe, I’ll point out the happy, positive things going on in the U.S.
In March, building permits were up 24% year-over-year and saw three months of consecutive gains. In the first three months of last year 165,800 building permits were issued, compared with 205,500 this year in the same period. That is a 12.3% increase, and is why pickup sales are so strong right now.
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s Dodge Ram has seen 23% YTD growth, and its Chevrolet Silverado has seen 23.5% YTD growth. As the U.S. housing market picks up steam, more contractors will upgrade their aging pickups, which will in turn boost U.S. GDP growth and fuel further housing gains.
While domestic auto makers have been doing well in the U.S., the big Japanese manufacturers have seen smaller gains. Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) has seen 6.1% YTD growth in sales, and Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) has seen 6% growth. While this has helped compensate for the drop off in European registrations, it isn’t enough to also compensate for China (due to the island territorial dispute, which caused Chinese consumers to shun Japanese products).