Keep an eye out for next Friday's monthly sales reports from the major automakers. For various reasons - among them the drop in gas prices and improved production schedules following the Japanese earthquake - June is shaping up to be a pretty strong month, certainly stronger than May. From the Detroit News:
[General Motors North American President Mark] Reuss said the auto industry is more stable than many other industries -- in part because high used-car prices make it more attractive to buy a new vehicle. "It's still a great time to buy a car." But with some people worried about job security or other economic issues, they are hesitating before buying a new vehicle. "The confidence to go buy something like a car is still fragile, although there is a lot of pent-up demand."
"We're seeing stability in the car markets," Reuss told reporters in Washington today, echoing Ford Motor Co.'s comments of an industry sales rate in June of about 12 million vehicles looking at data from the first half of the month. "GM is going to have a good month -- and I will leave it at that ... I feel good about June, and Ford does, too," Reuss said.
To give you an idea, a 30-cent drop in gas prices frees up about $37 billion - money that presumably can be spent buying cars and other stuff. IHS Global Insights goes so far to say that autos will help drive the economy's second-half revival.