As credit unions brace for a turnaround in new auto lending activity this year, more signs are in the air that vehicles sales are up.
The latest Macro Data Flash Report from NAFCU showed that vehicles sales started 2010 as they had ended the last one, continuing on a slow but steady upward trend. Sales in January benefited from rising consumer confidence, improving access to credit, the release of pent-up demand, the introduction of new models and modest increases in incentive spending, according to the report.
While vehicle manufacturers depended heavily on fleet sales at the beginning of last year, sales to retail consumers are now dominating the vehicle market, according to NAFCU, and the recent rise in gasoline prices has not had an impact on light truck sales yet.
Still, the ongoing protests in various countries in the Middle East have the potential to cause much stronger rises in gasoline prices, which would eventually also impact buyer behavior, the flash report read. Vehicle sales are expected to continue on the slow recovery path that started in 2010 throughout this year.