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Auto Industry Likely to End Year with Strong Sales

Preliminary signs suggest year-end buying surge.

by on Dec.23, 2011

Christmas shoppers will put plenty of cars under the tree this year.

The auto industry has been doing much of the heavy lifting, in recent months, helping fuel a late-2011 surge in the economy and it looks like the car market’s recovery from its worst downturn since the Great Depression is continuing into the year-end holidays.

In fact, December is on track to be the strongest month of the year, an unusual development as American consumers typically focus their spending on smaller presents they can pile up under the tree.

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But if preliminary reports hold true for the month as a whole, December could see retail U.S. car sales surge past the 1 million mark for the first time since the 2009 Cash for Clunkers program, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

“The industry has managed through another series of external shocks and is in a healthier position as the year closes,” said John Humphrey, Power’s senior vice president of global automotive operations.

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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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