SOURCE: Research Driven Investing

Research Driven Investing

February 26, 2013 08:20 ET

An Estimated 1.2 Million New Vehicles Were Sold in February -- a 15% Sequential Increase

RDInvesting Provides Stock Research on Ford and General Motors

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 26, 2013) - Signs of an improving U.S. housing market combined with upbeat readings on U.S. consumer confidence have continued to fuel to Auto Industry's rally in 2013. estimates that approximately 1.2 million new vehicles were sold in February, a year over year increase of 4.3 percent, and a 15 percent increase when compared to January's sales. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Auto Manufacturers Industry and provides equity research on Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and General Motors Company (NYSE: GM).

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The Federal Reserve's policy of keeping interest rates near-zero has benefitted the auto industry as a majority of Americans rely on loans to purchase new vehicles. Marketing firm LMC Automotive projects new vehicle sales to grow to 15.3 million in 2013.

"The current fundamentals that are driving strong vehicle sales--pent-up vehicle demand and a stable, recovering economy--are expected to get a boost by additional positive factors this year," said Jeff Schuster, LMC's senior vice president. "An expected recovery in the housing market, and 50% more new-model launches, combined with an increase in lease maturities, should keep light-vehicle sales climbing throughout the year."

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Ford is scheduled to release official February sales numbers at approximately 9:30 a.m. EST Friday, March 1st. The company's pre-tax profit of $1.7 billion, or $.31 a share, in the fourth quarter was the highest in over a decade. Ford's Board of Directors has decided to double its quarterly dividend to $0.10 a share.

General Motors has recently announced they will offer 4G internet connectivity in vehicles in the U.S. and Canada as an add-on feature, beginning with their 2015 models. "In addition to allowing consumers to bring in and connect to personal mobile devices, the vehicle will also act as its own mobile device, enabling embedded vehicle capabilities," Mary Chan, president of GM's Global Connected Consumer division, said in a statement.

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