Retail sales rose 11.4 percent in January, with the industry pacing at a 14.18 million seasonally adjusted annual sales rate — the highest rate since the government’s Cash for Clunkers program in August 2009, according to AutoData.
Toyota was the comeback kid, experiencing a 7.5 percent gain from a year ago after suffering through months of declines due to production issues caused by last year's disasters in Japan and Thailand. At the top of the sales board were Chrysler Group and Volkswagen of America Inc., both brands registering double-digit increases. Mercedes-Benz rounded out January’s top three thanks to strong demand for its SUV and passenger car lineup.
Audi: Audi of America sold 9,354 vehicles in January, a 19.7 percent year-over-year increase from January 2011. The company’s performance marked the best January in Audi of America’s history. Sales of the Audi A6 increased 90 percent over 2011, sales of the Audi Q7 increased 15 percent, and sales of the Audi A7 totaled 643 vehicles.
BMW/MINI: BMW Group reported January sales of 19,739 vehicles, an increase of 5.8 percent from the year-ago month. Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 3.1 percent from last January to 16,405. The best performing vehicles included the X3 SAV, up 56.9 percent to 1,687 units; the 6 Series, up 392.8 percent to 409 units; and the 7 Series, up 56.1 percent to 977 units. MINI USA reported sales of 3,334 automobiles in January, an increase of 21.2 percent from the 2,751 sold in January 2011.
Chrysler: Chrysler Group LLC sold 101,149 units in January, a 44 percent increase vs. January 2011 (70,118 units). The performance marked the group’s best January since 2008. The Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram Truck brands all posted sales gains, led by the Chrysler brand’s 81 percent increase. The group’s 44 percent increase was driven in large part by strong sales of the Chrysler 300, Chrysler 200, and Dodge Charger and Avenger sedans.
Ford: Ford Motor Company sold 136,710 vehicles in January, a 7 percent gain compared with January 2011. Retail sales increased 8 percent. Focus sales were up 60 percent, marking the best January for the model since 2003. Ford brand sales totaled 131,589 vehicles in January, marking the best January sales month for Ford brand since 2008.
GM: General Motors Company sold 167,962 vehicles in January, a 6 percent decrease vs. January 2011. GM’s total passenger car sales increased 3 percent in January, led by a 30-percent increase in sales of fuel-efficient, small and compact cars. The company’s crossover sales decreased 18 percent, and sales of trucks, which include full-size pickups, vans and SUVs, decreased 6 percent. Retail deliveries declined 15 percent year over year.
Honda/Acura: American Honda Motor Co. sold 83,009 in the U.S. in January, an increase of 8.8 percent over January 2011. The Honda Division posted sales of 74,628, an increase of 9.3 percent year over year. Civic sales increased 49.5 percent. The Accord posted sales of 13,659, up 1.5 percent from the same period last year. Acura Division's January sales totaled 8,381 units, up 5.3 percent year over year.
Hyundai: Hyundai Motor America announced an all-time record January with sales of 42,694 units, up 15 percent vs. 2011. January retail sales were up 19 percent, led by a 13 percent increase in Elantra sales and a 27 percent increase in Genesis/Equus sales.
Mazda: Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) reported its best January since 1994 with U.S. sales of 23,996 vehicles, a 68.2 percent increase vs. last year. Mazda3 sales totaled 9,200 units, an 83.4 percent increase vs. last year. This was the model’s best-ever January. Mazda CX-7 and CX-9 crossover SUV sales were up 32.6 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, marking the best-ever January for both vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz: Mercedes-Benz USA posted a 25.8 percent increase in January, with 21,726 vehicles sold. This was the best January in the company's history. Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles and SUVs fueled the company’s performance, with the C-Class leading the way with a 56.4 percent increase in sales. The E-Class followed with sales of 4,097, and the M-Class rounded out the Top 3 with sales of 4,002, up 61.1 percent.
Nissan/Infiniti: Nissan North America Inc. (NNA) reported January sales of 79,313 units, an increase of 10.4 percent vs. last year. Nissan Division sales rose 12.5 percent for the month to 72,517 units, with Versa sales setting a new record with 9,418 deliveries (up 8.5 percent). Sales of Infiniti vehicles decreased 8.2 percent from the prior year to 6,796 units, while sales of the Infiniti QX totaled 1,020, an increase of 30.4 percent vs. last year.
Toyota: Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) reported monthly sales results of 124,540 units, an increase of 7.5 percent over the year ago month on a daily selling rate (DSR) and unadjusted raw volume basis. Driven by an increase in sales of 2012 Camry and Camry hybrid, Toyota Division posted January sales of 112,266 units, an increase of 9 percent compared to the same period last year. The Lexus Division reported sales of 12,274 units, down 4.6 percent from last January.
Volkswagen: Volkswagen of America Inc. posted 27,209 units sold in January, a 47.9 percent increase compared to the year-ago period. Passat sales totaled 6,318 units, while Jetta sales totaled 9,564 units. Sales of the 2012 Beetle totaled 1,401, while Touareg sales increased 68 percent. Tiguan sales increased 50 percent. The TDI models experienced a 30.2 percent increase vs. 2011.