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Shortest Month Brings Strong Sales

Despite storms, consumers surge back to showrooms.

by on Feb.28, 2011

"Nobody's buying," said Ford marketing czar Jim Farley, during the blizzards of early February.

It may have been frigid cold in much of the country, but things were only heating up inside the nation’s new car showrooms, this month.  Despite blizzards that led to a slow start, car sales for February will wind up well into the plus column, according to a preliminary report by J.D. Power and Associates.

Using data from dealers across the U.S., the research firm estimates sales will come in about 17.3% above year-ago levels – and 11.7% above January sales.

That’s a significant turnaround in just a matter of weeks.  Speaking to at the Chicago Auto Show, earlier in February, Ford’s global marketing chief Jim Farley lamented, “Nobody’s buying.”

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It didn’t help that much of the country was being hammered by frigid temperatures and a series of winter storms, but the Ford executive also worried that consumers were waiting for a new round of hefty incentives before signing on the dotted line.


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.


April Auto Sales Suggest Economic Recovery is Real, Makers Say

But pace actually slowed a bit last month.

by on May.03, 2010

Despite some "challenges," automakers see good news ahead - even in the pickup segment, where models like the Chevy Silverado gained ground.

Despite some “challenges in our industry,” automakers hailed the generally strong pace of sales, last month, billing it as a sign that the nation’s economy is firmly on the road to recovery.

But industry analysts will be watching to see if automakers can avoid yet another incentive war, rebates and other givebacks clearly helping prop up the market the last two months.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR, for light vehicle sales actually dropped back just slightly to 11.2 million units during April but carmakers didn’t seem to mind.

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There was a general consensus that the economic recovery is genuine and sales will continue to improve. At Toyota, which saw a 24.4% jump in April sales, vice president Bob Carter said the signs clearly indicate that the economy is on the mend and interest among consumers in new vehicles is on upswing.