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In this May 8, 2013 photo, new 2013 Ford Fusions are seen at an automobile dealer in Zelienople, Pa.
In this May 8, 2013 photo, new 2013 Ford Fusions are seen at an automobile dealer in Zelienople, Pa.
(Keith Srakocic/AP)

FINANCIAL TIMES

America may learn to love compact cars

Lex is a premium daily commentary service from the Financial Times. It helps readers make better investment decisions by highlighting key emerging risks and opportunities.

The American car-buying boom is a story about resurgent blue-collar industries. But it is also about another demographic: hipsters. Overall, June auto sales were up 11 per cent, with pick-up trucks getting the bulk of the credit. At Ford and GM, truck sales were up 20 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively, each exceeding overall sales growth. Pickups fit the narrative about broad shouldered industries such as construction and energy powering a macho US economy. This rising tide has lifted GM and Ford shares more than 70 per cent in the past year. Yet Ford has managed to increase its market share over the past year, from 15.7 per cent to 16.5 per cent, by figuring out the needs of effete urban car buyers on the east and west coasts – hipsters, if you will.