Auto sales in the U.S. grew 14.2% to 1.04 million vehicles in
January. This translates into a seasonally adjusted annual rate
(SAAR) of 15.3 million units for the year, up about 1 million
units from 2012.
Strong pent-up demand continues to be the key driving factor for
sales growth. Average age of vehicles on U.S. roads increased to
11.3 years from 10.8 years in 2012. The industry should also be
thankful to friendlier banks as they offered greater access to
loans on easier terms and with lower interest rates. Further,
improving job market boosted the consumer sentiment to purchase
Most of the major automakers posted double-digit rise in sales.
Toyota Motor Corp.
) topped all the automakers in terms of sales growth. Let us look
at the individual automakers' sales.
General Motors Company
) posted a healthy 15.9% rise in sales to 194,699 vehicles in
January, driven by strong Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra
pickup truck sales. Sales of Chevrolet Silverado soared 32% to
35,445 units while that of GMC Sierra sales leapt 35% to 12,846
Ford Motor Co.
) sales spiked 21.7% to 165,863 vehicles, driven by impressive
sales of all new Fusion sedan, Explorer sports utility vehicle
(SUV) and Escape compact crossover. Fusion had its best January
in its history with sales growing 65% to 22,399 vehicles.
Explorer had its best January since 2005 with sales of 14,554
units, up 46% year-over-year. Escape established a January record
as well with sales of 19,939 units during the month.
Chrysler Group - controlled by Italy's
) - had the best January in five years. The automaker saw a 16.4%
rise in sales to 117,731units, driven by strong sales of its
Dodge lineups. Sales of Dodge Avenger sales soared 69% while that
of Dodge Journey crossover SUV almost doubled.
Toyota Motor reported an impressive 26.6% jump in sales to
157,725 vehicles driven by strong sales of Camry and Corolla
cars. Sales of Camry mid-size car rose 12.7% to 31,897 units
while that of Corolla subcompact increased 12.7% to 23,822 units.
Honda Motor Co.
) recorded a 12.8% rise in sales to 93,626 vehicles led by
outstanding sales of its redesigned Accord. Sales of Accord
sprang up 75% to 23,924 units. However, sales of Civic slid 4% to
Nissan Motor Co.
) posted a meager 2.0% rise in sales to 80,919 vehicles as sales
of some its popular models declined during the month. These
popular models include Altima car, which witnessed a 4% fall in
sales to 21,464 units, and Rogue truck, which recorded a 9.6%
decline in sales to 8,951 units.
) Mercedes-Benz reported an 11.1% rise in sales to 23,579
vehicles driven by its impressive C-Class sedan sales. Sales at
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG ("BMW") inched up 0.75 to 16,513
units, led by a 56% gain in its X5 SUV sales.
) posted a 6.6% rise in sales to 29,018 vehicles. It was the
company's best January in the U.S. since 1974. The mediocre rise
in sales was attributable to poor sales of its popular Jetta
sedan, which recorded a 4% drop to 10,522 units. However, sales
of another popular model Passat rose 40% to 8,856 units.
Hyundai Motor Co.
) sales edged up 2.4% to 43,713 vehicles. The marginal rise was
attributable to a 24% rise in Elantra small car sales, partially
offset by an 8% decline in Sonata midsize sedan sales.
Strong pent-up demand, easier car finance and improving
macroeconomic conditions will continue to act as a catalyst to
rejuvenate U.S. auto sales to the pre-recession level. Good news
is that improving auto sales will also help the overall economic
recovery in the U.S. being a key industry for growth. Full year
sales are expected to exceed 15 million units compared with 14.5
million units in 2012.
GM expects a 7% rise in industry sales in 2013. Meanwhile, Ford
predicted an 8% gain in the year, which reflects more than
threefold rise compared with the overall economic growth of
2%-2.5% forecasted by the automaker.
DAIMLER AG (DDAIF): Free Stock Analysis
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GENERAL MOTORS (GM): Free Stock Analysis
HONDA MOTOR (HMC): Free Stock Analysis Report
(HYMLF): ETF Research Reports
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TOYOTA MOTOR CP (TM): Free Stock Analysis
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