Fox Business host Stuart Varney and guest Marc Morano falsely suggested higher truck sales in March translate into a rejection of more fuel efficient vehicles by American consumers. In fact, the driving force behind higher truck sales is a rebounding construction sector, and sales of more fuel efficient vehicles have also been robust.
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Fox Suggests Strong SUV And Pickup Sales Mean Government Should "Slam The Brakes" On Green Car Incentives
Fox Business' Stuart Varney: "Time For Uncle Sam, Maybe, To Slam The Brakes On Those Green Car Incentives?" On Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, guest host Stuart Varney noted the strong truck sales in March, and asked if it was "time for Uncle Sam, maybe, to slam the brakes on those green car incentives." He went on to say that with high gas prices, "you'd think people are jumping into fuel efficient cars, but they're not. They're going for gas guzzlers." [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4/2/13]
Fox Guest Marc Morano: "Despite The Best Efforts Of The Environmentalists, Of Government Mandates And Subsidies And Discounts And Tax Breaks, The SUV And The Gas Guzzlers Reign Supreme. Varney's guest Marc Morano, founder of ClimateDepot.com and Media Matters' Climate Change Misinformer of the Year for 2012, said that "despite the best efforts of the environmentalists, of government mandates and subsidies and discounts and tax breaks, the SUV and the gas guzzlers reign supreme in the American auto market. Which just says one simple thing. The Federal government, as all powerful as it likes to think, cannot mandate consumer choice." He added that "Americans want cars that are practical, big, safe, have room," not "little tiny electric cars." [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4/2/13; Media Matters, 12/27/12]
But Sales Numbers For Smaller, More Fuel Efficient Vehicles Have Been "Robust"
GM Sales Chief: "Sales Of Smaller Cars Have Been Robust For Some Time." Agence France-Presse quoted GM sales chief Kurt McNeil as saying, "Sales of smaller cars have been robust for some time," and adding that "the strength of the crossover market signals that America's families are more confident about their financial health." [Agence France-Presse, 4/2/13]
FoxBusiness.com: "Demand For Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Ramped Up" In March. A FoxBusiness.com article quoted Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service as saying, "Customers are buying our all-new Fusion and Escape in record numbers, and we are working harder than ever to keep pace with demand for these fuel-efficient vehicles." When explaining the jump in March auto sales, the article said that "demand for fuel-efficient vehicles ramped up in the U.S. and pickup trucks rebounded." [FoxBusiness.com, 4/2/13]
Hybrid Sales Were Up 32 Percent In January And February Compared With The Same Period Last Year. The Los Angeles Times reported that "Hybrid sales were up 32% in the first two months of this year compared with the same period last year, according to research firm Autodata Corp." The Times cited "a combination of trends, including upward-creeping gas prices, a growing track record for reliability and the wider selection of hybrid offerings" as driving the change. [Los Angeles Times, 3/29/13]
Strong Truck Sales Were Driven By Increased Demand From The Construction Industry
FoxBusiness.com: Truck Sales Boosted By "A Steady Climb In Housing Starts."FoxBusiness.com reported that truck sales improved "as the rebounding housing market encouraged construction companies to update fleets that in some cases were more than a decade old." FoxBusiness.com noted that Alec Gutierrez, a senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book, said that truck sales were boosted by a "steady climb in housing starts" that will "continue to support the truck market." [FoxBusiness.com, 4/2/13]
LA Times: Truck Sales Were Strong "As The Truck-Heavy Home Construction Industry Continues To Recover In The U.S." The Los Angeles Times reported: "Truck sales for Ford and the other Detroit automakers were particularly good as the truck-heavy home construction industry continues to recover in the U.S." [Los Angeles Times, 4/2/13]
The Plain Dealer: "Growth In Truck Sales Is Closely Tracking New Home Construction."The Plain Dealer reported that Michell Krebs, an analyst with consumer research site Edmunds.com, explained that "that the growth in truck sales is closely tracking new home construction." [The Plain Dealer, 4/2/13]
In January, Analysts Predicted Home Construction Would Drive Truck Sales
Ford Economist In January 2013: "Recovery In The Housing Market Should Drive Pickup Sales In 2013." In January, Reuters reported that analysts predicted truck sales would increase as the housing market rallied:
The beginnings of a recovery in the housing market should drive pickup sales in 2013, said Ford economist Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, citing a Census Bureau figures showing a sharp increase in people setting up new households.
"This is a fundamental physical foundation for housing recovery," she said. "When you look at the housing recovery, it can put a twinkle in your eye every bit as much as 2013 sales forecasts do." [Reuters, 1/14/13]
GM Treasurer: "There's A Big Correlation Between Auto Sales And Housing Starts." Reuters quoted GM Treasurer Jim Davelin as saying, "There's a big correlation between auto sales and housing starts." He added: "The pickup truck market share is at historic lows. We would expect that to come back." [Reuters, 1/14/13]