Anyone wondering whether the U.S. auto market could maintain the fast pace that helped deliver an unexpectedly strong close to 2012 needn’t worry. The New Year is off to a fast and promising start based on the first sales numbers to come in for January.
Notably, Detroit’s Big Three makers all posted double-digit gains – good news for the Motor City considering the two largest domestic brands each lost market share last year.
Chrysler Group LLC reported a 16% increase in U.S. sales in in January as the automaker continued to gain sales, while Ford Motor Co.s January U.S. sales grew 22% year-over-year, and GM jumped 22%. All three makers stressed that their higher-profit retail sales grew at an even faster pace as they continued to shift emphasis away from generally lower-profit fleet markets.
Foreign-owned makers also appear to have had a good month, analysts expecting many to report double-digit gains, as well. While most are still crunching their numbers, the Toyota brand was up 26.6% for the month, prompting Bill Fay, general manager of the Japanese maker’s mainstream brand to declare, “The sales pace we saw in the fourth quarter of last year rolled into January, exceeding our expectations for the industry.”