US auto sales jump 13% in 2012 as Toyota leads pack



CHICAGO — US auto sales jumped 13.4 percent in 2012 to their best performance since the crash of 2008, as better economic times, hot new models and the need to replace aging vehicles drew consumers to showrooms.

It was the biggest yearly gain since 1984.

Toyota, Honda and Chrysler outpaced their rivals with sales gains that blew past 20 percent while Ford and General Motors posted modest growth Thursday that led their market share to shrink significantly.

Total industry sales came in at 14.5 million vehicles, up from 12.8 million in 2011 and a low of 10.6 million in 2009, according to Autodata and Ward’s Auto.

Prior to the 2008 crash, US auto sales had not dipped below 15 million since the recession of 1993.

Ford forecast that 2013 sales would rise to between 15 and 16 million vehicles in the United States while global sales will come in between 80 and 85 million.

“Overall, we expect global sales to grow this year, supported by an ongoing recovery in the US as well as improving sales in China,” said Ford economist Ellen Hughes-Cromwick.

“Gains in these markets are offset somewhat by the weakness in the European markets.”

GM forecast somewhat more modest growth of 15 to 15.5 million in the coming year.

“GM’s strong finish in 2012, the industry’s momentum and the overall health of the US economy make us optimistic about 2013,” GM sales chief Kurt McNeil said.

GM’s sales grew four percent in 2012 to 2.6 million vehicles after it posted its best December in five years with deliveries up five percent year over year to 245,733.

The sluggish growth pushed GM’s share of the US market to the lowest level in decades — just 17.9 percent compared with 19.6 in 2011. GM sold one in every four cars in the United States as recently as 2005 and one in every three cars in 1993.

“We’re always concerned about market share. Always,” said Mark Reuss, head of GM North America.

“But we’re not going to give it away like we did in the past, and burn the residuals and the brand values in anticipation of the biggest product portfolio launch that we’ve had in history.”

Toyota and Honda saw sales climb sharply as they recovered from the devastating Japanese tsunami, which smashed their supplies in 2011, and lured customers with new and updated offerings.

Toyota reported a 27 percent gain in 2012 sales to nearly 2.1 million vehicles as December sales rose nine percent to 194,143 vehicles.

Its market share rose 1.5 points to 14.4 percent in 2012, placing the Japanese giant solidly in third place.

“As we move into 2013 and the market sees continued growth, we expect to outperform the industry once again with another nine product launches on the horizon,” said Jim Lentz, chief of Toyota Motor Sales USA.

Honda sales jumped 24 percent to more than 1.4 million vehicles in 2012 — its fourth best year ever — as December sales rose 26 percent to 132,774. Its market share grew by just under a point to 9.8 percent, according to Autodata.

“Honda began the year intent on recovery,” said John Mendel, head of sales at American Honda.

“We ended 2012 with multiple product awards, a host of sales records, Honda’s second best December ever, and tremendous momentum as we head into 2013.”

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.

However, its market share fell nearly a point to 15.5 percent.

“We are looking forward to a great 2013 as we begin this year with the product and capacity in place to expand our share,” said Ken Czubay, head of Ford sales.

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 while its share climbed half a point to 11.1 percent.

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.

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. Its share grew half a point to three percent, according to Autodata.

Nissan’s share shrank slightly to 7.9 percent as its sales grew by 10 percent to just over a million vehicles.

Hyundai’s share also shrank modestly to 4.9 percent of the US market as its sales rose nine percent to just over 703,000 vehicles. Sister company Kia’s share was flat at 3.8 percent, as its sales grew 15 percent to nearly 558,000 vehicles.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • VeryDisgusted2

    For Kia to increase its market share in the Philippines, it should fix its after-sales service. Here in Davao, Kia service is conning its customers. A friend recently confided she has a bad experience with Kia service with her Carnival. After check-up, the service department quoted P35,000 repair cost for a malfunctioning aircon. A check-up from outside shop revealed the cause of AC problem was only a busted fuse.

    Kia should learn not to underhand their customers. A frustrated customers will tell seventy other people and each of these seventy people will tell another 70 and the downline goes on. So how many repeat and prospective customers they will lost?

  • Constantine

    This is good news because it shows that the economy in the US is getting better thus it will impact the global economy positively which will eventually trickle to the Philippines. Pnoy just have to continue his daang matuwid and jail more Gloria supporters like bobby ongpin, etc.

  • intsikbeho

    how is this news relevant to the philippines and the filipino people? 

    • paul

      bobo!…dapat ba lahat ng balita related sa atin….eniway…galing talaga ng toyota kahit daming recall na piyesa tinatangkilik pa rin…..

      • intsikbeho

        Tanga!… dapat talaga lahat ng balita dito sa inquirer relevant sa pilipinas at sa mga pilipino o kaya naman eh ilagay nila under Global! hindi under business! kun gusto mo magbasa ng balita ng walang kinalaman sa pilipinas eh di doon ka sa al jazeera ka mag basa o kaya sa cctv4! chwe!

        eniway… galing nga ng toyota noh.. bilib din nga ako and paborito kong brand ng kotse talaga ang toyota! mabuti na un maraming recall ibig sabihin inaayos yun problema hindi tulad ng iba dyan walang ka recall recall kala mo walang ka proble problema mga kotse nila puro sablay naman ang mahal pa ng piyesa nanloloko ng tao! patuloy kong tatangkilikin talaga ang toyota

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