Automakers will report their US sales results for February throughout Wednesday.
Analysts estimate that total vehicle sales rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.7 million, according to Bloomberg.
Sales fell in January after another record year for automakers. But that did not immediately signal an end to the industry’s boom, Business Insider’s Matthew DeBord reported.
Costlier pickups and SUVs are being sold more than passenger cars, meaning that the manufacturers can maintain their profits. Also, carmakers are getting more cautious about so-called fleet sales to rental agencies, governments, and other large organisations. Such sales are less profitable than consumer purchases.
Carmakers continue to benefit from the accessibility of credit provided by low interest rates, although there are some concerns that the level of consumer debt is stretched.
In the fourth quarter, auto loan originations — appearances of new auto balances on consumer credit reports — increased by a record $US142 billion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Delinquency rates on auto loans also increased, with 3.8% of payments made more than 90 days late, classified as “seriously delinquent” by the New York Fed.
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