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2010 Car Sales End on a High Note

Most makers score gains but Toyota again posts decline.

by on Jan.04, 2011

Ford gains ground in import-friendly California with the new Fiesta.

Car sales finished 2010 on a high note with virtually every manufacturer posting sales increases, and with the seasonally adjusted annual rate of car sales, or SAAR, coming in at a year-high 13.3 million.

The unofficial sales tally for 2010 was over 11.5 million units, with the year finishing stronger than anticipated as recently as 90 days ago, according to Ford sales analyst George Pipas.

The December and year-end sales data also confirmed that General Motors, Ford Motor Co. , Chrysler, Hyundai and Kia had made deep inroads into territory once dominated by Toyota, which saw its sales slip by 5% in December as it finished the year with a small decline in sales.

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The domestic brands all posted double-digit sales increases for the month and for the year, while both Korean brands set sales records and Volkswagen AG, which has struggled for years to figure out the U.S. market enjoyed its best sales since 2003.

Smaller Japanese brands such as Mazda also finished the year with solid sales gains and, in Subaru’s case yet another record.  Honda and Nissan also posted increases for the month and the year. Sales by BMW, Audi and Mercedes Benz also increased during 2010.

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