Despite the ongoing Volkswagen debacle, the automobile industry and sector-related exchange traded funds are rebounding after auto sales accelerated in September.
The First Trust NASDAQ Global Auto Index Fund (NasdaqGM: CARZ), which provides access to global automobile manufacturers, rose 1.0% Thursday. CARZ, though, has declined 9.8% year-to-date.
Automobile stocks were gaining momentum Thursday after General Motors (NYSE: GM), Ford (NYSE: F) and Nissan beat analysts’ estimates while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Toyota Motor Corp (NYSE: TM) and Honda Motor (NYSE: HMC) met healthy sales expectations for September, Bloomberg reports.
Fueling the gains, Labor Day deals, the continued low interest rate environment and cheap gasoline prices could help lift sales to a seasonal adjusted 18 million vehicles, according to GM and Fiat Chrysler.
“The U.S. is adding jobs, disposable income is rising, energy prices and interest rates remain low and business continues to invest, but the fact remains this has been a slow recovery,” Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist, said in a statement. “The economy still has room to grow and so do auto sales.”
LMC Automotive, an industry researcher, projects full year light-vehicle sales to rise 100,000 to 17.2 million. TrueCar Inc. expects raised estimates by 200,000 to 17.4 million, its highest level since 2000.
Auto sales are up because “it’s cheap to run ’em, it’s cheap to buy ’em and there’s more people with jobs, so more people need ’em,” Mark Wakefield, managing director and head of the automotive practice for consultant AlixPartners, told Bloomberg. “In the last 12 months, $98 billion has gone into people’s pockets strictly because of gas prices going down. You’re seeing the impact of that.”