As Iíve written in the past few weeks, auto sales been improving this year, and the uptick has been good enough to help companies beyond automakers such as Ford (F) and General Motors (GM), for example Sirius Radio XM (SIRI) and Johnson Controls (JCI).
But maybe it was even more than that ó Brad Plumer argues today that car sales were what powered the entire U.S. economy in 2012:
If cars hadnít been flying out of dealerships, the year would have looked considerably bleaker. Vehicle purchases by consumers alone accounted for roughly 30 percent of all economic growth in the first half of the year, according to Credit Suisse.
Plumer notes that this yearís 13% rise in sales happened despite some pretty large car recalls, which should have put consumers off. The fact they didnít may suggest that consumers donít care about recalls ó or it may just be reflection of how much belt-tightening and financial hardship weíve seen in recent years.