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Late Upturn in 2011 Likely to Set Stage for Stronger 2012

But threats to auto market remain as global economy stutters.

by on Jan.03, 2012

The Hyundai Elantra: one of the hits of 2011.

When automakers close the books on 2011 tomorrow, they’re expected to not only show a moderate gain of about 10% for the year but, more importantly, provide a clear indication that car sales are on an upswing.

Housing sales may still be struggling and the jobs market still in the doldrums but two years after the worst automotive downturn since the Great Depression the cash registers are ringing loud at the nation’s car dealers.  Most forecasters now see demand surging from about 12.7 million vehicles this year to anywhere from 13.8 to more than 14 million for 2012.

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And the trendline is pointing in the right direction in almost every major market worldwide, suggests a new study by the Detroit-based research firm Polk.  Its new global automotive forecast foresees worldwide sales of 77.7 million vehicles in 2012, a 6.7% jump from last year.

“We’ve been recovering a lot faster than many people expected just two years ago,” says automotive analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting.


Toyota’s Esmond: “Consumer Confidence is Shot”

Could pent-up demand kickstart auto industry?

by on Feb.11, 2009

Even the high-mileage Prius can't gain traction in the market

Even the high-mileage Prius can't gain traction in the market

“Consumer confidence is shot,” laments Don Esmond, second-in-command at Toyota Motors Sales, USA.

Esmond is one of a number of senior executives on hand for the 2009 Chicago Auto Show, the nation’s largest in terms of consumer turnout. The question is whether potential buyers will show up – and even if they do, whether they’ll be willing to take the plunge and buy a new vehicle.

According to Esmond, Toyota now estimates that 1 million Americans, with the means to purchase a new vehicle, have postponed actually buying a new car, truck or crossover for anywhere from six to twelve months, because of the uncertain economy.