Imports join Ford to lead auto-sales recovery

While U.S. vehicle sales improve across the industry during 2010, four companies enjoy year-over-year growth that is far greater than the industry-wide average. They are Ford Motor Co., Hyundai Motor America, Subaru of America, and Volkswagen Group of America. Another four companies – Chrysler Group, Daimler, Kia Motors America and Nissan North America – also beat the overall U.S. growth average, but by a smaller margin.
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With one month left to sell, American carmakers closed November 2010 at a sales pace that was 11.1 percent higher than the first 11 months of 2009, according to market statistics compiled by Autodata, a service of the consulting firm Motor Intelligence. But four companies ran far ahead of the pack, with 11-month sales increases that stand more than 20 percent above their sales levels of the prior year during the same, 11-month period.

As reported by Autodata, Ford's 11-month sales represented a 21.1-percent increase from the previous year. Hyundai enjoyed the highest percentage gain, at 23.0 percent. Subaru's year-over-year growth tallied 22.5 percent higher. Volkswagen saw a 21.3-percent rise.

Reported earlier today in Torquenews, the Volkswagen component Audi of America is on track to sell more cars in 2010 than it did before the U.S. auto market crash of 2008 – basically, a full recovery from the sharp downturn in sales experienced across the industry. If December sales maintain the brand's current rate, Audi will turn in a record-breaking year in 2010. Audi sales through November were 23.6 percent above the previous year. (See http://www.torquenews.com/113/strong-audi-sales-outrun-market.) Audi accounts for a little more than a quarter of Volkswagen Group sales in the U.S., with the VW brand picking up the lion's share.

While Chrysler, Daimler, Kia and Nissan also beat the industry average, their percentage increases were lower than that of the four leaders. According to Autodata, 2010 sales at the four companies, through November, grew by the following: Nissan, 17.0 percent; Kia, 16.8 percent; Chrysler, 16.5 percent; and Daimler, 12.7 percent.

For Daimler, the key, Mercedes-Benz brand did better than the corporate average implies. Mercedes' sales picked up by 18.6 percent, Autodata reported. But the company's overall average was dragged lower by a limping performance from its Smart brand of micro cars. Through November, total Smart sales of 5,357 units represented a 61-percent fall from the prior year's level of 13,731 Smart cars.

The eight sales leaders detailed above were positioned among the 13 vehicle makers in the mid- and top-tiers of U.S. auto retailers in the Autodata report – those with sales currently exceeding at least 200,000 units across the United States. Several smaller brands also turned in impressive 11-month performances. Jaguar Land Rover North America saw a 20.7-percent sales gain in the first 11 months of 2010, retailing 40,329 vehicles. Porsche Cars of North America enjoyed a 29.4 percent growth rate, to 22,743 total vehicles. But since those companies operate in the lower tier by size, their results have less overall impact on the American car market at large.

Overall, Autodata put U.S. light-vehicle sales at a cumulative 10,444,044 through November 2010, amounting to the 11.1 percent increase over the 9,400,626 new vehicles that moved during the first 11 months of 2009.


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