US auto sales roared in 2012 as Chrysler leads pack
CHICAGO, Illinois - US auto sales roared ahead in 2012, with Chrysler once again outpacing its rivals with double-digit gains as Ford posted modest growth on Thursday.
Ford reported its best December sales since 2006, though they grew just two percent from the same month a year earlier to 214,222 vehicles.
The number two US automaker's 2012 sales rose five percent from 2011 to nearly 2.3 million vehicles on the strength of the Ford brand, which was the only nameplate to top 2 million in annual US sales.
"Ford finished 2012 strong, with retail sales showing improved strength as more customers returned to dealer showrooms," said Ken Czubay, head of Ford sales.
"Ford's fuel-efficient cars and hybrid vehicles showed the most dramatic growth for the year, and we achieved our best year for commercial vehicle sales since 2008."
Ford's domination of the truck market helped boost sales as its popular F-Series pickup marked 31 consecutive years as America's best-selling vehicle with 645,316 units sold, a 10 percent gain from 2011.
Chrysler -- which has posted nearly three years of consecutive sales gains -- saw its sales jump 21 percent to nearly 1.7 million vehicles in 2012.
The third largest US automaker's December sales grew by a more modest 10 percent from a year earlier to 152,367 vehicles but nonetheless marked Chrysler's best December since 2007.
Chrysler estimated that its US market share had grown to 11.2 percent in 2012 from 10.5 percent in 2011, which ought to place it squarely in fourth place behind General Motors, Ford and Toyota.
"Looking back on 2012, we were again one of the fastest growing automakers in the country," Chrysler sales chief Reid Bigland said in a statement.
"We also recorded 33-consecutive months of year-over-year sales growth and our strongest annual sales in five years."
Volkswagen -- which sees strong growth in the US market as key to its attempt at gaining the global sales crown -- also celebrated strong gains.
The German automaker's sales jumped 35 percent to 438,133 vehicles in 2012 after it posted its best December since 1970 with sales up 35 percent at 44,005.
"The Volkswagen brand delivered another important step in our long-term growth plan," said Jonathan Browning, chief of Volkswagen Group of America.
Volkswagen has more than doubled its 2009 volume after three consecutive years of double digit growth, he noted.
"With the addition of the all-new Jetta Turbo Hybrid, Beetle Convertible and our strong dealer network, we expect to continue to outpace the industry in 2013," Browning said.
Results from other automakers were expected later Thursday. - Rappler.com