Plenty of industries, sectors and the relevant exchange traded funds have been identified as potentially vulnerable to rising interest rates. Master limited partnerships (MLPs), real estate investment trusts (REITs) and utilities come to mind.

Down nearly 11% over the past six months, the First Trust NASDAQ Global Auto Index Fund (NasdaqGM: CARZ), which provides access to global automobile manufacturers, could also be vulnerable to hawkish moves by the Federal Reserve.

U.S. consumers have loosened their wallets as the economy improves, exhibiting increased demand for expensive trucks and luxury sport utility vehicles. Car sales are jumping s job growth, available credit and affordable fuel pushed consumers to replace aging models, notably sport utility vehicles. All major car manufacturers were expected to report higher October car sales, except Volkswagen AG, which has been dealing with the diesel-emission scandal. Nevertheless, the combined sales of Volkswagen and Audi rose 5.8%, compared to average expectations of a 6.4% decline. [Car ETF Gaining Speed Despite Road Blocks]

“Production falls by an annualized rate of 12 percent in the month immediately following the shock, which translates into a decline of 170,000 automobiles. The offsetting effects of the household expenditure and firm inventory channels mean that sales growth is initially close to its steady-state value, before falling at an annualized rate of 3.25 percent in the second month after the shock to interest rates and then slowly recovering back to the steady-state value,” according a note by the New York Federal Reserve posted by Amey Stone of Barron’s.

Fueling the growth in the auto industry, low gasoline prices and interest rates allow consumers to more freely spend on big ticket items, notably sales of sport utility vehicles and pickups. The average vehicle sold for $33,340 in June, or 2.5% higher year-over-year.

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