The U.S. saw a significant rise in light vehicle sales in January. It grew significantly by 17% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 12.6 million units in January, reflecting a strong uplift in the industry. SAAR reached the highest level during the month since the cash-for-clunkers program in the summer of 2009.
Sales at General Motors scaled up 23% to 178,896 vehicles, driven by impressive sales of its crossover vehicles and pickup trucks. Sales of crossover vehicles soared 31%, including a 48% rise in sales of the GMC Terrain and a 35% increase in sales of the Chevrolet Equinox.
Sales at Ford Motor Co. (F), comprising its namesake, Lincoln and Mercury brands, grew 9.2% to 116,534 vehicles on the back strong sales of its trucks and fuel-efficient passenger cars. Truck sales rose 24.6% driven by a 29.6% growth in sales of F-Series pickup.
Sales at Chrysler (including its namesake, Jeep, Dodge and Ram brands) appreciated 23% to 70,118 vehicles. The automaker revealed that introduction of 16 all-new or revamped models led to the year-over-year improvement in sales.
Sales at Toyotapicked up 17.3% to 115,856 vehicles from the lower sales in December on the back of recall of eight models due to defective gas pedals. Toyota truck sales rose 37% while car sales went up 15%.
However, sales at Honda Motor Co. (HMC) rose 13% to 129,616 vehicles, driven by impressive sales of CR-V sport utility vehicle and Accord. Meanwhile, sales at Nissan Motors (NSANY) rose 15% to 71,847 vehicles on strong sales of its Rogue crossover.
Sales at Daimler AG (DDAIF), including Mercedes-Benz (cars, light trucks and Sprinter) and smart vehicles, escalated 14.2% to 17,631 vehicles. Sales of Mercedes-Benz increased 14% to 17,273 vehicles while sales smart USA gained 29% to 358 units.
Sales at Hyundai Motor Co. (HYMLF) went up 22% to 37,214 vehicles driven by higher sales of revamped Sonata sedan and the newly redesigned Elantra. Meanwhile, sales at Kia Motors, Hyundai’s sister company, zoomed 26% to 27,789 vehicles led by strong sales of Sorento SUV and Optima sedan.
The sales trend in January clearly indicated a rebound in consumer confidence. However, unemployment and rising gas prices pose threat for the industry sales. For full year 2011, industry sales are projected to rise 11.2% to 12.9 million vehicles from 11.6 million in 2010.
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