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Economy and Business


Housing, baby boomers, millennials and recovery of auto sales
Ohio-made Cruze and pickups get top billing in the auto recovery numbers
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Chevy had high hopes for the Cruze when it rolled out the compact at Lordstown. And those hopes have been fulfilled.
Courtesy of JEFF ST. CLAIR
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In The Region:

American automakers are posting better than expected sales numbers for June – and the best monthly numbers in five years. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with an auto analyst about the surge and its ties to Ohio.

LISTEN: HOW HOUSING AND MILLENNIALS PLAYED A ROLE

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The story of the auto recovery these days is largely the story of full-size pickups. In June, Ford had its best truck sales month since 2005; and GM saw a surge of 8 percent for its pickups, vans and SUVs.

For the reason, Michelle Krebs of Edmunds.com says – look at housing.

“As the economy improves and housing starts and construction improve, full size pickup truck sales increase as well. There’s a direct correlation.”

But it was actually GM’s little guy – the Chevrolet Cruze -- that saw the biggest percentage growth over this time last year. Krebs notes the sales of the Lordstown-made compact surged 73 percent. Some of that is because of Baby Boomers downsizing, but not all.

“The millennials are finally getting into new car market. They were frozen out pretty much by the recession because they were unemployed or underemployed and they were buried in college debt. We are now seeing them back in the new car market and that bodes well for the future because that is a huge population boom.

Another thing that bodes well for Ohio’s auto economy is Jeep launching the Cherokee as an alternative to replace the discontinued Liberty. The Cherokee is largely made in the Toledo area. 

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