The are accorded no separate listing on any of the official indexes of the nation’s economic health. Yet no other single category of commercial activity more acutely reflects the state of the nation’s economy than auto sales.
Last week [July 10, 1977], as the year-end figures were added up, the results provided strong proof that the US is in fact coming out of the prolonged business “pause” of late summer and fall.
After flattening out disappointingly in October and November, in December new-car sales jumped 16% above those of a year earlier. That surge made 1976 the domestic industry’s best year since 1973: US automakers wound up selling 8.6 million cars, or 22% more than in 1975.
What is more, most automen believe that this year will bring even better results. They predict that sales of American cars will come close to the 1973 record of 9.7 million and, since prices are much higher, the industry will enjoy its first $100 billion sales year ever.