Will January Auto Sales Set the Pace for 2013?

Auto sales in the United States are off to a good start in 2013, with the Big Three all reporting strong January results. Before diving in, Toyota (NYSE:TM) also released preliminary sales results of 157,725 for the month, up 26.6 percent. Toyota increased its U.S. market share from 12.9 percent in 2011 to 14.4 percent in 2012.

General Motors (NYSE:GM)

“There’s a sense of optimism among our dealers that only comes when you pair a growing economy with great new products,” said Kurt McNeil, GM vice president of U.S. sales and operation, in a statement. “We started to see the benefits in 2012 with vehicles like the Chevrolet Sonic, Cadillac ATS and Buick Verano. Now in 2013, we’re entering the sweet spot of our product plan in a growing economy.”

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America’s largest car manufacturer reported a 16 percent year-over-year increase in sales to 194,699 units. The gain was led by a 47 percent increase in Cadillac brand sales, its best in 23 years. Car sales increased 12 percent, truck sales increased 13 percent, crossover sales increased 27 percent, and full-size pickup sales increased 32 percent.

GM is entering 2013 having lost market share in 2012, down to 17.9 percent from 19.6 percent in 2011, when major competitors Toyota and Honda (NYSE:HMC) were largely knocked out of the game due to a devastating tsunami that hit Japan in March of that year.

Jan. 2013 sales Change vs. Jan. 2012
Chevrolet 137,304 +10.9%
GMC 30,816 +23.4%
Buick 13,463 +31.9%
Cadillac 13,116 +47.0%
Total GM 194,699 +15.9%

Ford (NYSE:F)

“Our investment in fuel-efficient new vehicles – including EcoBoost engines and hybrid technology – continues to pay off,” commented Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales, and service, in a statement.

Sales of the all-new Fusion increased 65 percent year over year to 22,399, a new record for the vehicle. The Escape also had its best-ever sales, growing 16 percent to 19,939. The Explorer had its best January since 2005, with sales climbing 46 percent to 14,544 units. Most notably, sales of the F-Series climbed 22 percent to 46,841, its 18th consecutive month of sales increases.

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Ford is entering 2013 having lost market share in 2012, down to 15.5 percent from 16.8 percent in 2011.

Jan. 2013 sales Change vs. Jan. 2012
Ford 162,310 +23.3%
Lincoln 4,191 -18.2%
Total 166,501 +21.8%


“It’s been a good week for the Chrysler Group. On Wednesday we announced full year 2012 profits of $1.7 billion and followed that today with our January sales, up 16 percent, marking our 34th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth,” said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales, in a statement.

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The Fiat 500, the Dodge Avenger, the Chrysler 200 mid-sized sedan, the Dodge Challenger, and the Jeep Patriot all set January sales records. Chrysler is entering 2013 having grown its market share from 10.7 percent in 2011 to 11.4 percent in 2012.

Jan. 2013 sales Change vs. Jan. 2012
Fiat 3,503 +31%
Chrysler 20,696 +18%
Jeep 30,318 -4%
Dodge 43,227 +37%
Ram 20,987 +14%
Total 117,731 +16%

Here’s how Ford, General Motors and Toyota have each traded so far in 2013:

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 10.29.10 AM

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