DETROIT | Auto sales rise in 1st half, but analysts warn of turbulence
DETROIT— Neither higher gas prices nor rising interest rates could put a damper on U.S. auto sales during the first half of the year.
Sales rose 1.8 percent during the first half of the year, while June sales were up about 5 percent compared with a year ago, according to Edmunds.com.
Analysts said the boost was fueled by strong consumer confidence and low unemployment.
But analysts at Cox Automotive, which includes Kelley Blue Book, issued a cautionary note on the numbers, saying that much of the increase was due to low-profit sales to fleet buyers such as rental car companies, and retail sales to individual buyers were propped up by rising incentives such as rebates and subsidized leases.