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January Car Sales Jump Despite Winter Storms

Makers seeing double-digit increases last month.

by on Feb.03, 2015

GM posted a double-digit sales increase for January as its midsize pickups continue to be hot sellers.

Despite some harsh the harsh winter weather across a substantial portions of the U.S., new vehicle sales got off to a fast start in 2015 with Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Nissan all reported double-digit sales increase sales during January as sales of trucks and utility vehicles continued to gain momentum.

GM reported its best January sales in seven years. Total sales were up 18% compared to a year ago. Retail sales were up 14% and fleet deliveries were up 32%.

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“Consumers feel very good because more people are working, the U.S. economy is expanding and fuel prices are low,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations. (more…)

Cold January, Hot Car Sales

Transaction prices likely to hit an all-time record.

by on Jan.27, 2014

Strong demand for compact crossovers like the Nissan Rogue is keeping the new car market hot despite record cold weather.

Cars sales are off to a strong start in 2014 despite the frigid weather that has gripped the U.S. during January. That could be particularly good news at a time when Wall Street is worrying about a new slowdown of the global economy.

Demand for new vehicles, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, forecasts a 1% increase in total sales when all figures are in for the month.  Power and LMC also predict that the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate, known as the SAAR, will reach 15.9 million units for January – well above the 15.6 million vehicles sold during all of 2013.

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“We are forecasting January 2014 to have the strongest level of retail sales for a January since 2004, and transaction prices will be the highest on record for the month of January,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. “In combination, the strong sales rate and record transaction prices are expected to result in record levels of consumer spending for the sector.”


US Auto Sales Off to Fast Start for 2013

Detroit makers show renewed momentum.

by on Feb.01, 2013

The 2013 Ford Fusion had a record month,

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.

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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.”


Sales Up but Transaction Prices Slip

But customers continue moving up-market.

by on Feb.03, 2012

With products like the Elantra flying out the door, Hyundai (and sibling Kia) had the lowest industry incentives last month - but also the lowest average transaction prices.

Trend or just a temporary setback?  In recent months, buyers have been steadily moving up-market while also adding significantly more content to the vehicles they buy.  Along with cutbacks in the typical industry incentive package that has rapidly driven up the price motorists pay – the average transaction price, or ATP, in industry lingo.

But while January saw a surge in sales, preliminary data suggest they may also be reining in their spending by focusing on lower-priced, less lavishly-equipped models.

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Including cars, light trucks and crossovers, the typical motorist spent $30,512 in January, according to car pricing information tracked by, a 0.6% decline from December.  But while that’s a notably reversal of recent trends, it doesn’t appear to signal an end to the industry’s current upward momentum, analysts stress.


January Car Sales Off to Good Start

VW up nearly 50%, Toyota regains momentum, but GM slips.

by on Feb.01, 2012

The new VW Passat helped the maker score a nearly 50% sales gain in January.

With Volkswagen and Chrysler Group leading the way, the U.S. auto industry is off to a good start for 2012, a number of key analysts upping their forecasts for the full-year.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR for the new vehicle market appears to have hit 13.5 million units in January providing support for predictions that 2012 will be another year of growth in the automobile industry. While General Motors went into negative territory, the overall automotive market saw significant gains, some makers — including Audi — reporting best-ever sales.

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Chrysler reported U.S. sales of 101,149, a 44% increase compared with sales in January 2011 (70,118 units), the group’s best January sales since 2008. It also marked the maker’s 22nd consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains and eighth-consecutive month of sales increases of at least 20%.


Winter Storms Fail to Freeze Out January Car Sales

Down from December, but still strong, with Detroit makers taking the lead.

by on Feb.01, 2011

Coming at you. Toyota reported a 55% jump in Tundra sales, demand for trucks running high in January, despite $3 gas.

Though Winter storms and leftover holiday bills appeared to slow things down during the final weeks of the month, January car sales remained strong enough to leave industry officials upbeat about the prospects for the rest of 2011.

Sales were off by double-digits from December, when the auto industry staged an unexpectedly substantial turnaround – and the best volumes for all of 2010 – but January has traditionally been the year’s slowest month.  And compared to year-earlier levels, the trendline appears to be pointing sharply upward.

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Though several foreign makers have yet to issue their final numbers, it appears January will have seen the industry post a close to 20% gain over the first month of 2010.  Collectively, Detroit’s makers posted some of the strongest gains overall, with each up by double-digits and two of the makers picking up market share from their import rivals.


January Sales in the Deep Freeze?

Buried under the blizzard?

by on Feb.01, 2011

Did bad weather take its toll on January car sales?

Winter’s chill may have put new car sales in the deep freeze, warns J.D. Power and Associates.  The California-based consulting firm says that after an unusually brisk few weeks, the latter half of January saw a sharp loss of momentum in new car sales.

Industry bean-counters will shortly begin reporting on the first month of 2011 – if they can get to work considering what forecasters are already declaring the “historic” blizzard taking aim at much of the country.  Serious winter storms have been slamming much of the country, in recent weeks, burying the East Coast under a blanket of snow and soaking much of the West Coast with devastating downpours.

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Such storms can quickly short-circuit the new car market in a month that is already one of the weakest of the year for the auto industry.  Consumers, opening up those credit card bills from the holidays often put off major purchases, like automobiles, until spring.

Going into January, however, many analysts found that shoppers were maintaining their December buying frenzy, which translated into the best month of 2010 for the auto industry.