Jesse Snyder
Jesse Snyder
Opinion Page Editor

Auto sales headed higher (It's a hunch)

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U.S. auto sales were pretty good the first half. But the second half will be substantially better, I firmly predict.

The numbers support that, starting with thumping good June volume. But my conviction is more about feel. I sense sales rising like an achy knee portends rain.

And here's what my hunch is based on:

    • Pickup sales are booming. Contractors are rational buyers. They buy because they know they'll be working more.

    • The new cars are cooler. There are lots of new models with gotta-have technology. And all of them get better fuel economy than the model they replace.

    • We had a springtime swoon for a fourth straight year. But this time it was just a May quiver. Compared with 2010, 2011 and 2012, that's a hiccup instead of taking to bed with the vapors.

    • Congress hasn't done anything stupid (enough to damage the economy) for weeks and weeks. And therefore can be ignored by car buyers. In short, a greater percentage of people who can afford to buy a new car aren't scared by Congress any more.

It ain't exactly science. But I have a good feeling about this rally. I think the car biz finally got its legs.

You can reach Jesse Snyder at jsnyder@crain.com.

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