January was a great month for U.S. automakers, thanks to low interest rates, cheap gas, and a growing desire by many Americans to own really nice trucks. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Detroit is seeing dollar signs. Car sales jumped in January even more than forecasts. Edmunds.com's Jessica Caldwell: SOUNDBITE: JESSICA CALDWELL, SENIOR ANALYST, EDMUNDS.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "People feel good about their jobs. They feel good about the economic environment. There are low gas prices. It just seems like a lot of positives right now that are driving car sales up to really high numbers. " GM sales were up 18 percent, Ford- 15 percent, Fiat Chrysler up 14 percent. And forget the red hot sports car. Now it's all about the luxury pickup truck. Reuters Joe White: SOUNDBITE: JOE WHITE. U.S. TRANSPORTATION EDITOR, THOMSON REUTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If you don't know what a luxury pickup truck is, you need to get out to Texas, because Ford says that the new F-150 King Ranch, which is a luxury sort of western-themed truck, and platinum, which is a more suburban truck, those are staying on dealer lots once they hit only nine or ten days. That is pretty fast, so people are just buying expensive, luxurious, well equipped trucks and SUV's, and that goes all the way to the bottom line for the Detroit Three." Easy credit when consumers sit down to do that paperwork makes the price tags look a lot prettier. SOUNDBITE: JESSICA CALDWELL, SENIOR ANALYST, EDMUNDS.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "People are opting for longer loan terms, interest rates are relatively low, and, as a result, even though they are buying a more expensive car, the payment is probably similar to what they paid when they bought a new car six, seven years ago. So, definitely, interest rates and the credit market, in general, are helping consumers get into a car and get into a nicer car." Trucks and SUV Sales now account for 69 pct of sales at General Motors. Ford, and Fiat Chrysler - up from 66 pct a year earlier.. a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.