Business / Auto Global

US housing recovery boosts truck, SUV sales

(Agencies) Updated: 2013-04-08 15:43

DETROIT - US sales of sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks jumped in March, spurred by rising home prices and an increase in housing construction, major automakers has said.

The performance of SUVs and trucks outpaced gains in the broader US auto market, but March is still expected to be the fifth straight month that the auto industry's annual sales pace will be above 15 million vehicles.

General Motors Co said the stronger housing market helped its sales to small businesses climb by nearly a third. The largest US automaker also posted a 31 percent sales gain in crossovers vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Traverse, while its overall sales were up 6.4 percent.

Ford Motor Co, the No 2 US automaker, posted a 16.3 percent rise in sales of its F-Series pickup trucks and a 15.4 percent spike in sales of SUVs, such as the Escape.

"The housing sector recovery is in full swing," Ford economist Jenny Lin told reporters and analysts.

The US housing sector is starting to contribute to growth after years of dragging down the broader economy. Rising home values are helping US consumers feel more confident about buying a new vehicle, GM and Ford executives said.

Home prices in 20 metropolitan areas rose 8.1 percent in January from a year earlier, the biggest 12-month rise since June 2006. Meanwhile, US home builders are breaking ground on more new houses this year, boosting sales of pickup trucks.

In about a month, GM will launch two new truck models, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Ford is planning an overhaul of its F-150 next year.

Executives said pent-up demand also continued to fuel sales gains in March. The average age of vehicles on US roads is more than 11 years, an all-time high, and many consumers can no longer put off buying a replacement.

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