Car buyers demand fuel efficiency

As gas prices climb, automakers are scrambling to produce vehicles that won't give you much pain at the pump.

By Kim Peterson Apr 2, 2012 1:45PM
The price of gas has climbed to $3.93 a gallon, on average, from $3.76 a month ago. And that weighed heavily on car buyers' minds in March.

Shoppers turned their focus to smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles, hoping to get some relief at the pump.

General Motors (GM) has 12 vehicles that do at least 30 mpg on the highway, and each of those was a sales winner in March. Combined, those 12 models contributed to 100,000 in sales for the month -- a record for GM.

Post continues below.
Three years ago, only 16% of GM's sales were at that threshold of at least 30 mpg. Now, the company said, it's 40%. Those fuel-efficient vehicles include the latest versions of the Chevy Cruze, Chevy Malibu, Buick Verano and Chevrolet Sonic.

GM and the other major automakers will release their March sales totals Tuesday. Analysts are expecting sales strong enough to give the industry the best quarter in four years.

Reuters reports that 34 analysts surveyed think March sales will reach an annualized rate of 14.75 million vehicles. That's a huge improvement from the last few years, when the spiraling economy led many drivers to put off new-car purchases. The annualized rate was only 13.3 million a year ago, and auto sales dropped to 10.4 million in 2009.

"Vehicle trade-in rates have achieved sustained highs in recent months, which suggests that consumers have decided that they've held on to their cars for too long," Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with car site Edmunds.com, told Reuters.

Automakers are also more accepting of buyers who might not have the best credit. Caldwell said the average credit score for buyers is at its lowest level since the first half of 2008.

Shares of GM rose more than 3% Monday morning to $26.50.

More from Top Stocks
Tags: FgmTM
2Comments
Apr 2, 2012 3:52PM
avatar
Accepting people with bad credit? Unheard of!!
Apr 5, 2012 6:28AM
avatar
Also, for those who frequently make purchases inside the gas station, consider checking Printapons the online printable coupon list.
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

STOCK SCOUTER

StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

112
112 rated 1
288
288 rated 2
479
479 rated 3
645
645 rated 4
644
644 rated 5
653
653 rated 6
638
638 rated 7
483
483 rated 8
288
288 rated 9
123
123 rated 10
12345678910

Top Picks

SYMBOLNAMERATING
AAPLAPPLE Inc10
ATVIACTIVISION BLIZZARD Inc10
CTSHCOGNIZANT TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS10
FOXATWENTY-FIRST CENTURY FOX Inc CLASS A10
ITUBITAU UNIBANCO BANCO MULTIPLO S.A.10
More

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

ABOUT

Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.