More Opinion by The Springboard

THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."

Friday, March 8, 2013

Unemployment Numbers May Drive Future Auto Sales

The unemployment numbers released today show some sign that just maybe we may be beginning to see a bit of a turnaround. Certainly the DOW Jones Industrial Average, and frankly all of the indices, have been on fire. The DOW has seen record highs.

This leads to one other thing we know. Auto sales have lagged both in the United States, and big time in Europe. All indicators point to a trend in the United States over the past 5-8 years that says that Americans in particular have been keeping their cars for longer periods of time.

When the economy stinks, who the heck can take the chance to buy a new car? Just drive what you have and run with it.

In fact, if you'd have invested in many of the auto parts companies like O'Reilly, for example, you'd have seen some pretty nice gains. People keeping their cars longer means they'll need parts to keep them running in tip top shape.

Which brings me back to the automakers. If and when, and I really think it is more a matter of when than if, the economy really starts to get some of its legs back, I think the very first thing the average American is going to do is replace their old car.

Sure, houses are nice, and the housing market has been having a pretty good run as well lately. But cars are still at the heart of every single American that drives. A new car is a treat. And if jobs numbers begin to improve, and people feel more secure in the jobs they have, and especially if the economy begins to provide less uncertainty as to where it's headed, Americans will park a shiny new car in their driveway.

It's a high ticket item, but it's not as high a ticket item as a house is. And the interest rates are still running relatively low, making any deal at the dealership even more enticing.

I am focusing on American automakers as well in this idea. I like Ford a lot. Mostly because Ford is the smaller of the Big Three US automakers, and because they have streamlined their business massively, and I think they have the most to gain with market share. Not to mention they are making some pretty nice cars.

Why American as well? I think there is a growing amount of interest in this country to buy American. We are beginning to see many more efforts by retailers to stock their shelves with American made goods. Walmart recently said it would add $50 billion over the next 10 years of American made goods. Big home improvement chains like Menards, which are all over the Midwest states, especially around Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin, has been on a rampage stocking their stores with American made and regularly offering American made sale prices and incentives.

I just think that more Americans are becoming aware that in order to really seat this country back into a good economic situation, we are going to have to start putting factories back on line, and in turn Americans will have better employment choices in sectors of manufacturing, which historically paid good wages and benefits to the average American. The fact that you can have a good paying job without the need for a college degree is also a plus since more Americans working and making good money no matter their status means many more dollars will flow in the real economy, and ultimately into these American businesses.

Ford Motor Company is my top pick. But I think if you invest in any automaker right now, in 12-24 months, you'll see substantial gains. Maybe the dip in unemployment is just a short term fluke. Or it is something that signals a turnaround. Either way, I don't see this economic downturn as being a permanent thing, and like I said before, the very first treat when all is good will be a shiny new car.

And that's why I think the automakers are good buy right now.

Full disclosure: Jim Bauer currently has stock in the Ford Motor Company.