The US auto industry continues to show signs of recovery and growth as it posted handsome figures for January. The industry is recovering with stronger numbers and recorded 2012 as the best of the past 5 years. Though the US economy recovered at a moderate rate in the past year, the auto industry delivered solid numbers with improving consumer confidence. The year has kicked off to a great start and the industry is expected to record 15 to 15.5 million units’ sales.
The Detroit Three recorded double digit sales gains in January, which were pretty impressive given the general trend. Let’s take a closer look at the performance of these automakers.
Diving into the number pool
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) continued to be the number one car company in sales. It witnessed a sales surge of 16% compared to the year ago period by selling 194,699 units. As the economic conditions are improving, the top US automaker is confident about future outlook and the prospects of its upcoming launches. Cadillac sales were up 47%, while Buick’s redesigned Enclave crossover experienced a 57% jump in sales. Sales of Chevy Silverado increased 32%, while the Sierra enjoyed 35% sales growth.
The second Detroit auto maker Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) also experienced an impressive 22% sales growth. It beat the analyst estimates of 164,500 units by recording sales of 166,501 vehicles last month. Both Fusion and Escape are doing exceptionally well for the automaker. The new Fusion has been well-received by consumers, which is reflected in the strong 65% sales growth of the vehicle. Ken Czubay, the VP of US Marketing, Sales & Service, points out that the company’s investment in fuel efficient cars and hybrid technology is giving impressive returns.
The third largest US automaker Chrysler may have slightly missed analyst expectation, but still saw a decent month. In fact this was the company’s best January in the last 5 years. It enjoyed a 16% sales growth by selling about 117,700 units against a forecast of 121,000 vehicles.
Even the foreign automakers experienced remarkable growth in sales as the pent-up demand and discounts on a few segments continued attracting customers.
The foreign counterparts
The Japanese counterpart Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) continued to deliver solid growth with sales rising 26.6% to 157,724 vehicles compared to the prior year figures. The sales of Tundra were up 27%, while Corolla saw a 32% increase over the previous year. Toyota’s recovery has been remarkable considering the supply chain disruption is suffered when its production units got hit by Tsunami.
The German automaker Volkswagen saw its best January since 1974. The automaker’s sales increased 6.7% to 29,018 vehicles. Jonathan Browning, the Chief Executive and President of Volkswagen Group of America, is very positive about the momentum of the automaker and expects its growth to outrun the industry this year.