Jeremy Hobson: After a house, the most expensive thing most Americans will buy is a car or a truck. And today, we're going to find out how the automakers did last month in the face of rising gas prices. One way to zero in on that is to look specifically at truck sales, since trucks tend to get worse gas mileage than smaller cars.
Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.
Nancy Marshall-Genzer: March is the start of the all-important spring sales season.
George Magliano is a senior economist at IHS Automotive. He says truck sales have been holding steady at about seven million a month. He sees more steady growth down the road.
George Magliano: It’s being led by small businesses coming back, individual contractors, even a little bit on construction.
Those small business owners are buying new pickups, vans and SUVs. Magliano says strong truck sales point to an improving economy, because businesses wouldn’t be buying something new if they weren’t making money. Even some of the last holdouts -- people who clung to their creaky old pickups during the recession -- are showing up in showrooms.
Ivan Drury is a senior automotive analyst at Edmunds.com.
Ivan Drury: If you look at the vehicles that are being traded in for this month compared to the previous Marches, you’ll see that they’re on average, about a year older.
Drury says higher gas prices are also driving sales. People want to get rid of their old gas guzzlers.
In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall-Genzer for Marketplace.