For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL - March 03, 2016 - Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Ford Motor Co. ( F ), General Motors Company ( GM ), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ( FCAU ), Toyota Motor Corporation ( TM ) and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. ( HMC ).
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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:
U.S. Auto Sales: Highest February Volume Since 2001
U.S. light-vehicle sales increased 6.8% year over year to 1.3 million units in Feb 2016. This is the highest February sales since 2001. Snowstorms in January prompted many customers to postpone their purchases to February, thus driving sales in the month. Attractive Presidents Day deals also played a role.
Consequently, sales on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate ("SAAR") basis increased to 17.53 million units in Feb 2016 from 16.39 million units in Feb 2015. This is the highest SAAR for any February since 2000.
Among the six major American and Japanese automakers, Ford Motor Co. ( F ) recorded the maximum year-over-year sales improvement in Feb 2016. Meanwhile, General Motors Company ( GM ) led in absolute figures for the month.
Now, let us take a look at the U.S. sales figures reported by individual automakers.
General Motors recorded 227,825 vehicle sales in February, marking a 1.5% year-over-year decrease due to lower rental deliveries. However, retail sales improved 6.6%, while commercial deliveries rose 7%.
Ford reported a 20.4% increase in U.S. sales from the year-ago period to 217,192 vehicles in Feb 2016. Sales volume of the Lincoln brand vehicles advanced 30.4% year over year to 8,039 units in the month. Sales of the Ford brand improved 20.1% year over year to 209,153 vehicles.
FCA US LLC - controlled by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ( FCAU ) - recorded a 12% year-over-year rise in sales to 182,879 vehicles in Feb 2016. With this, the company's monthly sales have increased year over year for 71 consecutive months. This impressive feat also marks the best February sales for the group since 2006.
Toyota Motor Corporation 's ( TM ) sales improved 4.1% year over year to 187,954 units in Feb 2016. Sales in the Toyota division rose 4.7% to 164.864 units. Lexus' sales went up 0.4% to 23,090 units.
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. ( HMC ) recorded a 12.8% year-over-year increase in sales to a record 118,985 vehicles in the month. Sales in the Honda Division went up 14.9% to a record 106,212 units in Feb 2016. However, sales of the Acura Division fell 1.7% to 12,773 vehicles.
Most analysts expect U.S. auto sales to improve further in 2016, backed by rising employment and personal income as well as low fuel prices, easy availability of credit and high pent-up demand. Moreover, the high average age of cars on the U.S. roads should continue to boost replacement demand for cars. However, the pressure to maintain the attractive incentives and deals may strain the margins for automakers.
Nevertheless, the U.S. auto sector looks set for another good year. Strong auto sales also bode well for the overall U.S. economy as the automobile industry is a major contributor to economic growth.
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