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Empty Labor Day car lots mean stronger economy

Car makers report their monthly sales today and they should get a nice bump from the long holiday weekend, and all those Labor Day sales you saw advertised.

August was expected to be pretty big anyway; the better the economy gets the more cars people buy (and, apparently, a lot of people need new cars).

"The average age of vehicles on the road today in the United States is over eleven years," says Michael Robinet, managing director at IHS Automotive "So, definitely the environment is right, interest rates are low, and buyers are out looking for vehicles."

And a lot has changed, especially fuel economy standards.

"Now you’ve got compact cars that are very commonly hitting 40 miles per gallon, give or take, but you still have much more flexibility and, let’s be honest, a cooler image from an SUV," explains Karl Brauer, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book.

He adds that new home construction is helping sales of pick-up trucks, and more electric cars are moving, too.

"There’s been almost a mini-price war that’s broken out among the manufacturers of electric vehicles," says Brauer.

Analysts say, across the board, new models are helping Honda, Ford and General Motors, in particular, to post some of the strongest sales since before the recession.

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