Counting Cars

December SAAR hits 12.5 Mln - 2010 Sales Up 11.1%

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Sales updates throughout the day: U.S. Sales Summary Table

U.S. LV SAAR 12.5 million units.

Light vehicle sales in the U.S. rose 15.2% in December on a daily basis, lifting the full-year delivery total to 11,554,576 units, an 11.1% increase over 2009's 10.4 million sales. And for the first time since 1999, all three Detroit automakers recorded full-year sales increases.

General Motors Co. reported LV sales in December (27 selling days) of 224,147 units, up 12.5% versus same-month year-ago (28 selling days), bringing the company's 2010 total to 2,212,283, up 7.2% over full year 2009. Having shed four brands, GM underperformed the overall market as its share dropped from 19.8% in 2009 to a historic low of 19.1% for 2010. The company nonetheless retained it LV supremacy over runner-up Ford.

Ford Motor Co. improved its December DSR 10.8%, giving the company a year-end tally of 1,905,372 LV deliveries, 19.5% better than 2009, for a 16.5% share of the market, up more than a share point from 2009.

Chrysler Group LLC pushed hard in December, unexpectedly lifting its monthly DSR 20.1%, and finishing the year with 1,079,734 LV sales in 2010, up 16.5% over 2009, good for fifth place in the market and a 9.3% share, compared to its 8.9% year-ago share.

Detroit 3 automakers' collective market share rose to 45% from 44.1% a year-ago.

Toyota's daily sales were down 2% from December year-ago, giving the auto company 1,763,276 sales for the year - 6,554 units below its '09 tally, down 0.4%. The company finished third overall behind Ford and GM, but registered its third consecutive year of falling sales volumes in the market. Until last year, the company had not had more than one year of declining sales in a row since entering the U.S. market.

American Honda closed the year with December sales up 25.5%, bringing 2010 deliveries to 1,230,480, up 6.9%, and leaving the company in fourth place among auto sellers in the U.S.

Nissan, meanwhile, increased its DSR for the month a whopping 32.4%, finishing the year with 908,570 units, up 18% versus like-year-ago.

The December push left Nissan well ahead of Hyundai Group, despite the Korean car makers' 42.3% increase in DSR. Hyundai's total sales for 2010 894,496, a 21.7% increase over prior year, that nonetheless left the Korean automaker as the seventh largest auto seller in the U.S.

December's SAAR of 12.5 million units was the highest of 2010, and the third month in a row that the seasonal rate was over 12 million units.

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John Sousanis

John Sousanis oversees WardsAuto data operations as Director of Information Content, and is Ward’sAuto sales analyst. Follow John on Twitter @CountingCars.  

Haig Stoddard

Haig Stoddard is a veteran automotive industry analyst. His current focus is North America production and longterm sales forecasting.
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