Strong new-vehicle sales figures are causing industry analysts to revise their forecasts for North American production levels in 2013, with J.D. Power & Associates and LMC Automotive predicting 16 million units will be produced — a mark not hit since 2002.
More than 1,157,000 new vehicles are projected to be sold in May, the third month in a row to top the 1 million level. The growth is being helped by strong demand for full-sized pickups, which represent more than 11 percent of retail sales, according to a news release from J.D. Power.
The government's employment report for April comes out Friday. It's an important measure of the economy's health and the advance signals have been mixed. One report this week showed layoffs falling to a five-year low, but another suggests disappointing jobs creation.
At least one sector is providing some positive news for the job market: housing.
Some 3.4 million vehicles produced by four Japanese automakers are being voluntarily recalled due to faulty airbag inflators.
The inflators were installed in some of Toyota's top-selling Camry and Corolla models produced since 2000. Certain Honda Civics and Mazdas are also subject to recall, which also reportedly includes the Maxima and Cube, according to Reuters.
The defective passenger-side airbag inflators were produced by Tokyo-based Takata at a Mexican plant, Reuters says.
Which Japanese-manufactured car is the world's most popular vehicle? Maybe none of them. It might just be the Ford Focus.
More than a million Focus models were sold worldwide last year, with Toyota's Corolla coming in second. Next was Ford's top-selling F-Series pickup, sold almost exclusively in the U.S. and Canada, according to the marketing firm R.L. Polk.