2012 New York Auto Show (NYIAS) on the John Batchelor radio show

Car sales are going up again and many car manufacturers are very happy.

Eventually cars do wear out and new ones have to be purchased. Couple that with good interest rates and people are buying cars. Paul Taylor, Chief Economist, National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), has a concern that the weather has been so good that it might have brought some sales forward.

Taylor did say that gasoline is playing a part in sales: with the increase in gas prices people are switching from 6-cylinder vehicles to 4-cylinder vehicles and smaller cars.

The price of gasoline will have to go up further for sales of alternative power sources to go up. But the Chevy Volt is making headway, in Jan-Mar of 2011 sales of the Volt were 1,210. From Jan-Mar 2012 sales of the Volt were 3,915.

Batchelor asked if the sales increase was because President Obama asked for a $10,000 tax credit. If people were waiting for the $10,000 tax credit sales wouldn’t be as brisk. Hammond also noted that Carols Ghosn said that Nissan would not always need the tax credit.

We then talked about Europe and their woes. Who will pair up to weather the storm?

From General Motor’s Press Release:
DETROIT “ Combined U.S. sales of the 12 General Motors (NYSE: GM) vehicles that get an EPA estimated 30 mpg or better on the highway are expected to reach 100,000 unit’s or more in March, the highest total in company history. GM will release it’s total March sales on April 3.

“GMs strategic investments in four-cylinder and turbocharged engines, advanced transmissions and vehicle electrification have been very well timed,” said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. “Three years ago, about 16 percent of the vehicles GM sold achieved at least 30 mpg on the highway. Today, that number is about 40 percent, and we have more new fuel-economy leaders on the way, including the Chevrolet Spark, Cadillac ATS and the Buick Encore.”

GM Fuel Economy Leaders on Sale Today:

2012 Chevrolet Sonic

1.8-liter I-4 (35 mpg)
1.4-liter I-4 turbo (40 mpg)

2012 Chevrolet Cruze

1.8-liter I-4 (up to 36 mpg)
1.4-liter I-4 turbo (up to 42 mpg)

2012 Chevrolet Volt

1.4-liter I-4 with electric drive unit (93 mpg-e)

2012 Chevrolet Malibu

2.4-liter I-4 (33 mpg)

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

eAssist (37 mpg)

2012 Chevrolet Camaro

3.6-liter V-6 (30 mpg)

2012 Chevrolet Impala

3.6-liter V-6 (30 mpg)

2012 Chevrolet Equinox

2.4-liter I-4 FWD (32 mpg)

2012 Buick Verano

2.4-liter I-4 (32 mpg)

2012 Buick Regal

eAssist (36 mpg)

2012 Buick LaCrosse

eAssist (36 mpg)

2012 GMC Terrain

2.4-liter I-4 FWD (32 mpg)

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.