“The American auto industry is back,” proclaimed Pres. Barack Obama in his state-of-the-union message Tuesday night. And that appears to include most brands selling in the U.S., including Japanese, Korean, European and Detroit makers, as well, if preliminary indications hold true for January.
While the industry won’t report January sales until this time next week, there are clear signs that the market has maintained the unexpected surge in momentum it saw in the final months of 2011, buoying expectations that the U.S. light vehicle market could approach the 14 million mark this year.
The preliminary estimates are that new vehicle sales have been steady during January, report analysts including Kelly Blue Book, a top provider of information on new and used cars sales. It expects January numbers to run 30% below the December high, however, coming in at about 900,000 units for the month or a 13.2 million Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate or SAAR.
Nonetheless, at 900,000 units overall, sales would be up nearly 10% year-over-year, KBB’s analysis said.