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Gaining Speed: Auto Markets Improving

Both American and European automobile markets are seeing stronger sales, signaling good health for the industry and a rebound from the crisis a few years ago.

The U.S. Auto market has hit a high note for sales in August. Production has been increased by just about every automaker. With estimates bringing the month's sales near 1.5 million units, the volume of sales is at its highest level for any month since 2007. The majority of retailers are seeing double-digit sales increases from a year ago, with the Honda US leading the way, boasting an estimated 17% jump in year on year sales. In fact total sales could top the 16 million annual mark, a significant barometer for the health of the U.S. Auto industry.

This is especially impressive when you consider that during 2009, the crisis kept buyers out of the marketplace, with only 10.4 million vehicles moving all year. The US industry has gotten so hot that sales are at China's robust mark, a developing auto market many figured the US could not compete with in terms of growth.

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August is typically a strong month for back-to-school shopping, but apparel sales have been abysmal and well-known teen retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale have seen their shares sliced by up to half in the last few weeks. Yet, the consumer has been spending away when it comes to auto, a trend that certainly defies common sense logic. Low financing rates coupled with a few years of repressed demand maybe the culprits for the auto renaissance. But, we are a few years out of the crisis and sales have continued to gain steam.

Even Europe's Auto market seems to be improving, Ford's Western European chief executive said on August 26th that European sales had hit a bottom and were now moving at a stable pace. This is a great improvement over the consistent drops in sales European automakers were seeing earlier in the year.

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Alexander Fleiss serves as Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Rebellion Research Partners LP, a Global Macro hedge fund and financial advisory that invests across all asset classes and is based in New York. Mr. Fleiss also oversees the firm's institutional research ... View Full Bio
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