With domestic and international brands reporting solid gains in December, new vehicle sales, like the stock market, finished 2013 on an upbeat note, creating optimism about the outlook for the year to come.
While a few manufacturers have yet to report in, the industry was on track to report its best sales numbers in six years, a welcome relief after the worst industry downturn since the Great Depression. A total of about 15.5 million vehicles were purchased by U.S. motorists in 2013, and forecasts for the coming year range from IHS Automotive’s conservative 16.1 million to as much as 16.5 million or more.
Significantly, an assortment of manufacturers finished last year reporting all-time best numbers, a list that included imports such as Audi, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia. But at least a few automakers ended 2013 on a mixed note – Toyota, for one, reporting a 1.7% drop in December sales, though it was nonetheless up 7.4% for the year as a whole. (more…)