Manufacturers sold 14.49 million vehicles in America in 2012, the best annual rate since 2007. With cars on the road averaging 11 years in age, the oldest level ever recorded, and the economy continuing its gradual recovery, consumers were driven to buy. Honda’s sales were up 26.8 percent from December 2011, Hyundai’s were up 17.1 percent, and Toyota’s grew 7 percent. With a 35 percent increase, Volkswagen saw its best December since 1970.
“After several challenging years, the U.S. auto market saw solid improvement in 2012,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “Dealers are confident that this positive momentum will continue into 2013, and that the retail market still contains substantial room for growth.”
Internationals Gain Market Share in 2012
In December, international nameplate brands captured 55.3 percent of the U. S. auto market, with sales of 748,703 units. Although international market share decreased from 57.8 percent in November, the number of units sold increased from 660,946 in November. For the year overall, international brands turned in a strong performance, occupying 55.5 percent of the U.S. auto market. Domestic brands held 44.5 percent.
Asian automakers scored 43.9 percent of the U.S. auto market in December, down from 45.9 percent in November. For the year overall, they occupied 45.6 percent of the market, with sales of 6,604,188 vehicles, up from 43.7 percent in 2011.
European brands held 11.4 percent of the December U.S. auto market, down from the 11.9 percent share they held in November. During 2012, they occupied 9.9 percent of the market, with sales of 1,440,944 vehicles, an improvement over the 9.3 percent share they held in 2011.
Domestic brands finished December with 44.8 percent of the U.S. auto market. For 2012 overall, they occupied 44.5 percent of the market, selling 6,446,741 vehicles, down from the 46.9 percent share they held in 2011.
Internationals Dominate Top 10 List
For the year overall, international brands sold an average of five of the top ten selling vehicles in the U.S. In December, six of the top ten selling vehicles were international nameplates. In third place behind the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado pickups, the Honda Civic continued to dominate the Toyota Camry as the top-selling car in the U.S. Honda’s compact was up 61.2 percent over last December.
In sixth place, the Honda Accord also continued to experience dramatic improvements over last December. Sales for the midsize sedan were up 66.6 percent. The Honda CR-V, Toyota Corolla/Matrix, and Nissan Altima – in seventh, eight, and ninth places, respectively – rounded out the international nameplate brand showing for the month.
North American Production
Asian brands sourced 43.9 percent of their vehicles from North American production facilities in December, up from 43.6 percent in December 2011. North American sourced cars represented 11.4 percent of European brands, up from 9.8 percent last December.
AutoData Corp. estimated the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) at 15.37 million units, an improvement over 13.61 million units one year ago. Sales for all brands, unadjusted for business days, were up 9 percent from December 2011 and 13.4 percent year over year.