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January Auto Sales Surge as Stock Market, Housing Trend Upward

But obstacles, including rising fuel prices, remain.

by on Feb.01, 2013

While small cars and hybrids gained momentum in January, so did big trucks like the Chrysler Ram 1500.

U.S. auto sales maintained the strong upward trend that delivered a solid send-off to 2012 – most major manufacturers reporting double-digit gains for January.

A number of manufacturers set new sales records during the first month of 2013, and Detroit makers, in particular, recovered some much-needed momentum, two of the Detroit Big Three ending last year with market share declines.

Industry observers credit a variety of factors for driving strong demand last month, including an improving economy, on the whole, and a bump in the long-struggling housing market, in particular. Notably, January saw demand surge in a variety of different segments, from high-mileage small cars and hybrid vehicles to full-size pickups.

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“We’re in a fundamentally sound trajectory,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, the chief economist for General Motors. While the industry is still operating well behind the record 17 million-plus rates experienced during the middle of the last decade, he suggested the modest but steady recovery the industry has been experiencing this cycle “is much more sustainable” than some of the rapid rebounds of decades past.

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2013 Car Sales Off to Good Start

January likely to see strongest demand in five years.

by on Jan.28, 2013

If anything, automakers are facing challenges keeping up with demand for products like the new Ford Escape on an assembly line in Louisville.

New car sales are off to a strong start in January as the industry’s retail sales rate moves to its best level in five years, according a monthly sales forecast from J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network and LMC Automotive.

January new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at 812,600 vehicles, which would represent a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, or SAAR, of 12.9 million units, and well ahead of the expected 12.4-million-unit annual level for 2013. Retail transactions are the most accurate measurement of true underlying consumer demand for new vehicles.

Adding in fleets demand, the estimated SAAR for January could hit 15 million units, considerably higher than the 13.9 million sales pace in January, 2012 though slightly off the 15.2 million rate last month, December giving an unexpected boost as the industry launched into the New Year.

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“The year is off to a fast start, which bodes well for the remainder of 2013,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. “Building on the momentum the industry has been gaining over the past two years, sales remain on a trajectory to return to pre-recession levels within the next few years.”

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July Sales Look to be Strong

Chugging along despite a weak economy.

by on Jul.27, 2012

Honda regains lost ground with the 2012 CR-V.

Despite fears of an economic slowdown, sales of new vehicles continue to chug along.

July’s new-vehicle retail sales are expected to post the second strongest year-over-year growth rate of the past 12 months, according to a monthly sales forecast developed by J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network and LMC Automotive.

Nonetheless there are signs of a potential slowdown in sales in the coming months. The supply of used vehicles is creeping higher and used car prices are slipping, indicating fewer buyers are out kicking tires these days, noted analyst Art Spinella of CNW Marketing.

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But July new-vehicle retail sales are projected to come in at 969,200 units, J.D.Power noted in its forecast for July. And that would suggest that the auto industry is defying the slowdown that has gripped much of the rest of the economy.

“Retail sales got off to a fast start in July, and while they’ve slowed down a bit as the month has progressed, through the first 16 selling days, they’re still up 15.1%, compared to July 2011,” said John Humphrey, J.D. Power senior vice president of global automotive operations

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August Car Sales Defy Doom-and-Gloom Fears

Most Makers Report Sharp Upturn in August Sales

by on Sep.01, 2011

Honda Civic sales continue to slide; the maker hopes to re-launch the new compact in the coming months.

This is an update of our earlier report with additional sales results from Ford, Toyota, Honda and other makers.

August auto sales exceeded even the more optimistic forecasts – countering concerns the auto industry would be hammered by fears of a double-dip recession and a hurricane that shut down much of the East Coast during the final weekend of the month.

Still, not everyone could cheer about the August numbers.  Detroit’s automakers reported strong demand, especially for their more fuel-efficient models – as did Japan’s second-largest manufacturer, Nissan.  But things didn’t work out nearly as well for Toyota and Honda, both of those makers still feeling the pinch of product shortages nearly half a year after the devastating earthquake and tsunami crippled the Japanese auto industry.

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“We’re carrying good momentum and we’re cautiously optimistic that we’ll see U.S. economic growth improve in the months ahead,” said Don Johnson, General Motors’ North American sales chief.  During a media background briefing, Johnson suggested that, “Consumer are being cautious, yes, and appropriately so, but they are not retrenching.”

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