Wall Street must be chagrined. For years, its experts have been predicting that the market for new cars and trucks is about to come tumbling down about our ears. It hasn't happened.
In the first nine months of this year, 12,835,667 new vehicles were sold by the nation's new-car dealers. That was 1.3 percent more than last year. Not much of a percentage increase, but it amounted to 159,601 vehicles.
Those 159,601 extra sets of wheels pumped about $3.7 billion into the U.S. economy.
Trucks had 54.2 percent of the nine-month market, their highest share ever; cars tailed off to 45.8 percent.
Market share slipped for General Motors and Ford Motor and rose a bit for the Chrysler group. Among the import Big 3, share was up for Toyota Motor Sales and Nissan North America and down for American Honda.
Here are some of the sales highlights for the first nine months of 2004.