Global automakers and U.S.-based auto retailers generally produced strong shareholder returns in the first quarter.
Suppliers were the only losers in the quarter among the publicly held groups of automotive companies tracked in the Automotive News/PwC Shareholder Value Index.
And even the suppliers' losses averaged a relatively modest 1.3 percent.
For the quarter, global automakers posted the largest return, rising 16 percent, while U.S.-based auto retailers gained 6.3 percent.
"Q1 was a strong quarter for global OEMs driven by continued growth in the three largest markets of North America, China and Europe," said Jeff Zaleski, PwC partner for U.S. Automotive Transaction Services and a member of the automotive leadership team.
All three categories -- carmakers, suppliers and publicly traded retailers -- have posted strong returns over the past three years. That reflects solid global auto sales growth, the U.S. auto market's transition from recovery to expansion and the end of a prolonged slump in European markets.
And all three have achieved double-digit gains over the past 12 months.
Looking ahead, PwC's Autofacts vehicle forecasting subsidiary expects generally strong performance globally for the rest of the year, led by North America, China and Europe.
In the U.S., Autofacts expects low interest rates to gradually rise in the second half of the year. It is sticking with its 2015 forecast of 16.8 million vehicle sales, which would still be a modest gain from 2014's 16.5 million.
Autofacts is upbeat about 2015 prospects for Europe and China and expects growth in India but is not optimistic about auto sales this year in Japan and Brazil.