The Financial Times' legendary Lex column, a daily investment discourse famed for its irreverence and oh-so-British drollery, can be tough on us Yanks. Here's Lex's take on the strong U.S. sales numbers in November.
"Vroom. Vroom. Here comes the four-wheel road bisons. Americans' love affair with cars has rarely been rational. Any excuse will do to get rid of an old vehicle for a shiny new one. Possibly a bigger one. This time around the cause is falling fuel prices. Nobody knows how long that will last. But who cares? Getting a car loan has not been this easy in a decade."
But Lex figures "Motown bosses" are in for trouble if they think cheap gas will continue to fuel new-vehicle demand.
"One risk is that prices will rebound before consumers pay off their loan balances," ventures the nameless columnist. Also, cheaper fuel "might deter some from buying new cars as running the existing non fuel-efficient vehicle has just become less expensive."