U.S. Auto Sales Hit 5-Year High in 2012
January 10, 2013
Major U.S. automakers reported strong sales performance in December, raising total sales for 2012 to a five-year high, boosting confidence in the automotive industry, and setting the stage for further increases in demand through 2013. The United States automotive industry posted robust sales increases last month, with buyers purchasing new vehicles at a faster pace on a year-over-year basis. Climbing demand drove up the annual sales rate to a post-recession high, and this trend is expected to continue into the new year. According to automotive-industry tracking firm Autodata In addition, 2012 also marked the third consecutive year of annual sales increases of at least 10 percent, the first time the industry has achieved such a success streak since the early 1970s. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) hit 15.3 million units in December. "There are several reasons car sales did so well last year: pent-up demand, easier credit, fewer foreclosures, more jobs," MarketWatch Among U.S. automakers, Chrysler Group LLC "Looking back on 2012, we were again one of the fastest growing automakers in the country," Reid Bigland, president and CEO of the Dodge brand and head of Chrysler's U.S. sales, said. "We also recorded 33 consecutive months of year-over-year sales growth and our strongest annual sales in five years." General Motors Co. Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. "More than three years after the federal government's $62 billion auto-industry bailout, Americans had plenty of incentive to buy new cars and trucks in the year just ended," the Associated Press All three of the major U.S. automotive manufacturing companies posted their best sales year since 2007. Among non-U.S. automakers, Toyota Motor Co. "With sales nearly doubling the increase of a healthy industry, Toyota had a breakout year in 2012," Jim Lentz, president and CEO of Toyota motor sales U.S.A, noted. "Last year, we introduced 19 new or updated models, which accounted for about 40 percent of our sales. As we move into 2013 and the market sees continued growth, we expect to outperform the industry once again with another nine product launches on the horizon." Strong performance in the U.S. automotive market has lifted projections for the next 12 months. According to automotive research and marketing firm Polk "Polk expects continued recovery in the industry in 2013 and 2014, a positive sign for the U.S. economy," Anthony Pratt, director of forecasting for the Americas at Polk, said. "The auto sector is likely to continue to be one of the key sectors that lead the U.S. economic recovery, however, we don't expect to realize pre-recession levels in the 17 million vehicles range for many years. However, our baseline forecast hinges on Washington's ability to draft a budget plan that will avoid $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases."