Car Sales Still on Track Despite Economic Questions

Posted on 05. Jul, 2012 by in Auto News

U.S. shoppers bought 1.29 million vehicles in June 2012, a huge 232,000-unit increase over the same period last year. This better than expected results have the entire industry sticking with a pace of about 14.1 million vehicle sales for the calendar year 2012.

The 14 million figure is important for the psyche of the economy, than you might think.

Known as the seasonally adjusted annualized rate, or SAAR forecasts car had climbed as high as 14.5 million by the end of April. Compared with the SAAR of 12.5 million euros in the first half of 2011 and 11.5 million in the horrific June of last year, the U.S. auto industry is facing up.

Japan's earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 affected last year's numbers and the bounce Japanese automaker affected in 2012 are visible. Due to low inventory levels fell Toyota and Honda sales by 33% and 22%, respectively, in May of last year, then 19% and 22% in June. With revitalized supply Toyota, Honda and other Japanese car manufacturers were obliged to sell a lot more cars this year.

Even so, in the first six months of 2012, Toyota and Honda are doing much more than on their 2011 sales performances. Toyota's 185,000 units from 2010 to the first half of pace; 95,000 Honda sales better than its 2010 first half.

GM America's largest seller of cars is so far in 2012. In fact, GM has sold more cars this year than last year, despite declining volume in Cadillac and Buick. Ford remains America's top brand and is the only brand that was more than 1 million buyers in the first six months of 2012 have.

Chrysler Group vehicles, meanwhile, has sold at a much faster pace than last year. Chrysler Fiat has increased sales in each of the past five months. Jeep Wranglers sold more vehicles than ever before, and more total than at any time since 2007. The Chrysler brand itself is up to 75% this year.

Pickup truck sales are strong across the board. America's written five best-selling truck nameplates average year-over-year gains of 15.8% in the first half of 2012. Among luxury automakers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus in large enough volumes are basically mainstream brands are considered sold. At the top of sales in the first half of Porsche, Maserati and Bentley to 6%, 17% and amounted to 28%.

Good news in the automotive industry, is easy to get, but 2012 does not look quite so rosy when you turn the clock back a decade, long before the economic crisis. In 2002, Americans bought 16.8 million new vehicles. This number declined slightly in 2003, then grew to 16.9 million in 2004 and just a hair under 17 million in 2005. Sales in 2006 and 2007 were about 16 million euros. Then 2008 hit, and return on sales fell to 13.2 million euros. The situation worsened in 2010, with only 10.4 million new vehicles sold in the U.S.. The market has seen growth since then, as 11.6 million vehicles dealers left in 2010 and a further 12.8 million in 2011.

Six years of 16 million sales prove difficult to reverse, but that's why the 14 million a major milestone.

Falling gas prices, sales of large SUVs have helped recently, but for the year some of the biggest models see surges. Chevy Suburban sales grew 53% spike in June, but also up to 24% for the year. Nevertheless, Toyota sold almost six times as many Prius models so far in 2012. At Ford SUV sales are up 8.8% for the year compared with a rise of only 3.8% for cars. Even luxury brands such as BMW saw SUV sales up 11.3% versus 8.4% for cars.

Whatever they get, the American buyers back to buy new cars … at a solid pace.

Tim Cain is a contributing writer for Cars.com and the editor-in-chief of