An end of the year surge gave dealers a reason to celebrate as overall sales, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, rose 8.7 percent from December 2010 and 10.3 percent over the whole of last year. Overall, international brand sales were up 5.5 percent from December 2010 and 6.6 percent year to date. Domestic automakers were up 12.5 percent and 14.7 percent for the year.
Hyundai’s sales were up 13 percent from a year ago. Kia also saw sales rise 43 percent, Mercedes was up 28 percent, and Volkswagen was up 36 percent. Toyota was up just 2 percent and Honda, still struggling with interruptions in supply, saw sales fall by 19 percent. At the time of this release, BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, and Land Rover have not released final sales numbers. As a result, the information for these manufacturers has been estimated by using credible industry sources.
“We expect sales to continue to rise next year,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “International nameplate dealers in particular are looking forward to several high profile model refreshes in 2012, along with growing consumer interest in new car sales.”
Internationals Maintain Edge in U.S. Market
Despite a challenging year, internationals continued to lead U.S. sales, occupying 53 percent of the market, down from 54.8 percent in 2010. International nameplate brands led domestic brands each month except June by an average of 6.7 percent. The brands made their strongest showing in March, with 56.6 percent of the market. In June they trailed domestic brands with 49.9 percent of the U.S. market. The decline was attributed to the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March and damaged several plants run by Japanese automakers.
Asian brands ended the year with sales of 5,588,717 units, a 4.1 percent increase over 2010 sales numbers. European brands experienced a particularly successful year in the U.S. market; they sold 1,193,211 vehicles and demonstrated a 20.4 percent improvement over 2010.
Although 2010 was a turbulent one for international brands, December’s sales numbers indicate that they continue to be among the most preferred in U.S. showrooms. Together, they occupied 53.4 percent of the U.S. market, sold 664,473 vehicles and demonstrated a 13.5 percent improvement over December 2010. In November, international brands held 54.6 percent of the market and sold 542,324 vehicles. Asian brands sold 542,095 vehicles in December and held 43.6 percent of the market, while European brands continued to make a strong showing with sales of 122,378 units and a 9.8 percent share of the market. Domestic brands sold 579,492 vehicles and finished December with 46.6 percent of the market.
International nameplates occupied five of the top ten selling vehicles in December, as they have since September. The Toyota Camry continued its lead as the top-selling car in America; it regained the position in November after being overtaken by the Honda Accord in October. The Nissan Altima continued to perform well, occupying the fifth position. Sales for the mid-size sedan were up 12.9 percent over December 2010 and 17.3 percent for the year overall. The Honda CR-V, Toyota Corolla/Matrix, and Honda Civic, respectively rounded out the eighth, ninth, and tenth slots.
Americans purchased 399,465 SUVs in December and 3,984,461 in 2011 – more than any other segment. It was up 5.6 percent over December 2010 and 12.4 percent in the year overall. The midsize car segment logged a second place finish for the year with sales of 277,145 units in December and 3,051,361 in 2011. Sales for the large vehicle segment continued to slide; in December, Americans bought just 1,604 large vehicles, representing an 81.9 percent decline over December 2010.
Overall sales, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, rose 8.7 percent from December 2010 and 10.3 percent over the whole of last year. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicle sales in December was estimated by AutoData Corp. at 13.56 million units, compared to 12.51 in December 2010. This is the fourth consecutive month the SAAR has risen above 13 million.