America’s love affair with cars is vrooming back — fueled by an accelerating passion for tech-tweaked models.
US carmakers reported yesterday that sales in February hit an annualized 14 million rate for a second straight month.
It’s the first back-to-back 14 million pace since 2008 — and analysts attribute the brisk sales to new on-board tech gadgets that are making the driver’s seat as cool as some living rooms.
“People are buying more bells and whistles than ever because technology is giving them so much for their vehicles,” said senior auto analyst Kristen Anderssen of TrueCar.com, which tracks the industry.
That rising demand helped drive up sales for the best February in four years, reviving Detroit to levels it lost during the recession.
Prices are also higher.
Indeed, the new high-tech features that help you shop electronically, download entertainment, monitor your habits behind the wheel, and stay in touch with civilization everywhere, have pushed up the average price of light vehicles to $30,605, a gain of nearly $2,000, or 6.8 percent, for the year.
In monthly sales reported yesterday by automakers, General Motors stumped analysts with a 1.1 percent gain instead of a big decline that many had predicted. GM shares rose 1.7 percent to $26.45, up 45 cents.
Ford sales jumped 14 percent, with its Focus sales doubling in February. Ford stock rose 2.3 percent to $12.66. Both GM and Ford expect profits in 2012. Chrysler sales jumped 40 percent from a year earlier.