The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Ford Motor, Honda Motor, General Motors, Toyota Motor and Nissan Motors
CHICAGO, April 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), Honda Motor Co. (NYSE: HMC), General Motors Company (NYSE: GM), Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) and Nissan Motors Co. (OTC: NSANY).
Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5513
Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:
Small Cars Hasten U.S. Auto Recovery
Light vehicle sales in March 2012 escalated 10% to seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 14.4 million units from 13.1 million units in the year-ago month, reflecting a fast recover in the industry. As many as 1.4 million cars and trucks were sold during the month, up 13% from March 2011. According to Edmunds.com, this marks the best monthly sales in the U.S. since August 2007.
Higher gas prices (20% rise from end-2011 to about $4 per gallon) led to the demand of fuel-efficient small cars (such as Ford Focus, Nissan Versa and Fiat 500) and compacts (such as Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Fit), which triggered the overall growth in sales. This apart strong pent-up demand (average age of a vehicle on U.S. roads is 10.8 years), mild weather and higher incentives fueled growth during the month. According to Autodata Corp., automakers’ spending on incentives rose 2.6% to $2,547 per vehicle in March.
Large vehicles (especially fuel-efficient sports utility vehicles and trucks) did not do badly as well (such as Volkswagen Passat, Ram pickup and Ford F-series pickup). This can be attributable to attractive promotions on trucks, improvement in the job market and higher consumer confidence. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan study of consumer sentiment showed that consumer confidence reached its highest level in March in a year.
TrueCar.com noticed that auto sales grew despite a rise in average vehicle prices, which increased about $2,000 to $30,748 in March on a year-over-year basis. Jesse Toprak, Vice President of the car-buying website, revealed that car buyers are not only buying small cars but also installing luxury components in the vehicles such as leather seats and navigation systems.
Sales by Automakers
General Motors Company‘s (NYSE: GM) sales rose 12% to 231,052 vehicles, driven by strong sales of Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. Sales of passenger cars grew 22%, compact-crossover surged 47%, mid-size sales soared 38% and full-size pickup truck increased 14%. Sales of Chevrolet Volt electric car saw it best month ever with sales nearly quadrupled to 2,289 units.
Ford sales increased 5% to 223,418 vehicles, driven by strong sales of Ford Focus (64.7%), Ford Edge (13.5%) and the F-Series pickup (9%). Sales of the company’s passenger cars grew 5.6%, utilities rose 3.3% and trucks went up 5.6%.
Chrysler Group LLC reported its best month in four years. The automaker’s sales surged 34% to 163,381 vehicles driven by improved sales of Fiat small cars and Chrysler 200 and 300 sedans. Fiat sales skyrocketed to 3,712 units from a meager 500 units in March 2011, when the car was introduced in the U.S. Meanwhile, sales of Chrysler’s 200 and 300 sedans each doubled from the prior-year month.
Toyota Motor Corp.‘s (NYSE: TM) sales escalated 15.4% to 203,282 vehicles driven by impressive sales of Camry and the Prius hybrid that offset lower sales of Lexus luxury lineup. Sales of Camry surged 35.3% to 42,567 units while sales of Prius leapt 54.3% to 28,711 units.
Honda’s sales ebbed 5% to 126,999 vehicles due to lower demand for its Acura and hybrid lineups. Sales of the company’s cars and trucks dipped 4.3% to 115,833 units, while that of Acura division fell 11.5% to 11,166 units.
Nissan Motors Co. (OTC: NSANY) sales rose 12.5% to 136,317 vehicles, making a record for any month in the company’s history. The growth was led by impressive sales of Versa sedan (40.7%), Leaf electric car (94.3%), Altima midsize sedan (27.1%), Frontier (32.1%) and Quest (80.0%) trucks. Nissan Division sales increased 14.8% to 126,132 units while sales of Infiniti vehicles dipped 9.8% to 10,185 units.
Strong pent-up demand and improving macroeconomic conditions in the U.S. will continue to revive the industry from recessionary lows. According to Jesse Toprak, total sales in the industry could go up to 14.5 million in 2012, up 13% from 12.8 million in 2011.
Good news is that a revival of the automotive industry will lead to a recovery in other industries as well since the former generates demand for so many products manufactured by those industries, which are used as automotive components.
Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5515.
About Zacks Equity Research
Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.
Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.
Zacks “Profit from the Pros” e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5517
Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leon Zacks. As a PhD from MIT Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it’s your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at http://at.zacks.com/?id=5518.
Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch
Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts
Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.
SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.