Industry Picks Up Momentum as Automakers Report Strong Car Sales


  • 2013 Ford F-150 Picture

    2013 Ford F-150 Picture

    The 2013 Ford F-Series helped to propel Ford to a double-digit sales increase in January. | February 01, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Automakers appear to be getting off to a strong start in 2013, with Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Toyota reporting double-digit sales increases in January.
  • Toyota reported monthly sales of 157,725 Toyota, Scion and Lexus vehicles in January, up 27 percent from a year ago.
  • Ford said its U.S. sales rose 22 percent last month, while GM said sales rose 16 percent last month.

DETROIT — Automakers appear to be getting off to a strong start in 2013, with Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Toyota reporting double-digit sales increases in January.

"The same old tune that played throughout 2012 repeated in January car sales: pent-up demand due to an aged American fleet continued to unleash supported by wide credit availability and enhanced by compelling new product offerings," said Michelle Krebs, Edmunds senior analyst. "January is getting the year off to a good start."

She added: "A new variation on the refrain was in play in January with full-size pickup truck sales gaining some steam, as Edmunds.com has been predicting. The truck fleet is even older than the U.S. car fleet and truck sales directly correlate with the housing market, which continues to strengthen. Truck sales likely captured a slightly bigger share of the overall market in January, and the biggest sellers of trucks — the Detroit Three — all posted significant double-digit gains in their truck sales. That bodes well for the Detroit three in terms of volume and profits. Trucks are a huge generator of profits for Detroit vehicle makers."

Toyota reported monthly sales of 157,725 Toyota, Scion and Lexus vehicles in January, up 27 percent from a year ago.

Ford said its U.S. sales rose 22 percent last month, while GM said sales rose 16 percent last month. Ford noted that the Ford F-Series began 2013 with a 22 percent increase versus last January.

"Ford is off to a strong start this year, with Fusion and Escape delivery January sales records and F-Series seeing a particularly strong reception this early in the year," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a statement.

Sales of GM full-size pickups were up 32 percent to 50,230 units, the automaker said.

"Now in 2013, we're entering the sweet spot of our product plan in a growing economy," said Kurt McNeil, GM vice president of U.S. sales operations, in a statement.

GM is preparing to launch the 2014 Chevrolet Impala and 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, as well as the Chevrolet Cruze diesel and Spark EV this year.

Chrysler reported its strongest January sales in five years, with U.S. sales increasing 16 percent. The 2013 Dodge Dart, which had a slow start out of the gate, had its best monthly sales performance since its introduction last year. Chrysler said Dart sales were up 17 percent in January.

Volkswagen's U.S. sales increased 7 percent to 29,018, the automaker's best January since 1974.

"While economic conditions continue to be somewhat uncertain, we expect Volkswagen to achieve continued growth and to outpace the industry this year," said Jonathan Browning, Volkswagen Group of America president and CEO, in a statement.

Edmunds says: Trucks are leading the way to strong vehicle sales in 2013.

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