A sluggish December failed to derail the U.S. auto industry’s best year since 2007, as sales of Ford Motor Co.’s Fusion surged to a record, Chrysler Group LLC posted its 45th straight month of sales increases and General Motors Co.’s Cadillac cars soared 48 percent.
The recovery in U.S. automobile sales from the lowest in almost three decades may spur a wave of auto- parts acquisitions, drawing interest from hedge funds, private- equity investors and rival manufacturers after a two-year slump in deals.
Fiat SpA Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne got a show of support from Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti yesterday for the carmaker’s latest effort to shore up domestic operations. The political cameo in southern Italy will do little to overcome the plan’s challenges.
Ford Motor Co.’s expansion of hybrid and plug-in models and demand for Tesla Motors Inc.’s luxury battery sedans helped U.S. first-half sales of electric-drive cars and trucks increase faster than even surging pickups.
New-vehicle buyers are having an easier time getting credit, signaling U.S. auto sales may continue to accelerate after last month reaching the fastest pace since the government’s “cash for clunkers” program.