Disposable income for millions of Americans remains in a very fragile state. However, judging by auto sales in January, such income may finally be increasing. According to a report from Autodata, General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Chrysler all experienced double-digit gains in car sales during January.
The entire industry witnessed a 17 percent increase in sales, totaling 819,895 vehicles sold in January. That translates to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of slightly more than 12.6 million vehicles - up from 12.5 in December. GM specifically experienced a 22 percent increase in sales, sending 178,896 vehicles off the company's lots. Autodata reports that the uptick was due to increased demand for GM's brand, including cars and trucks. GM's market share also climbed 0.9 percent to 21.8 percent.
Other car makers saw their profit rates sharply increase. Chrysler saw a 23 percent increase in sales and Ford jumped by 13.3 percent, while Toyota, despite not gaining any market share, experienced a 17.3 percent rise in sales.
These figures come at a time when the average auto loan rate fell to its lowest point in approximately nine years. Edmunds reports the rate fell to 4.16 - the lowest since 2002.