Nirvana For Detroit Automakers

Detroit is playing show-and-tell at the New York Auto Show this week. But the automakers don't have to sell because Americans can't stop buying, CBS News Correspondent Anthony Mason reports.

"Sales have never been this strong for the auto industry," said industry analyst Scott Merlis of Wasserstein Perella.

"The first quarter in auto sales was a very substantial positive surprise. They were off the charts. We're in uncharted territory. We have an all-time record," Merlis added.

The experts had predicted a 5 percent rise over last year's record first quarter. It more than doubled that.

For Detroit, the news is all good. The automakers are not only selling a record number of vehicles, their biggest sales increases are also coming from their most profitable models.

Ford's light-truck sales, for instance, including sport-utility vehicles, are up 20 percent this year.

"SUVs and pickup trucks are 100 percent more profitable, at least relative to cars. And that's what's selling and what's creating these record sales," Merlis said.

Some analysts say this can't keep up, that consumers can only buy so many cars. But Detroit is upping production and introducing new models, betting America's love affair with the automobile will keep burning.

©1999 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved


Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

On Twitter

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App