Counting Cars

December Sales Thread: 2012 U.S. LV Sales Up 13.4%, SAAR Tops 15 MLN for 2nd Month

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Audi, BMW Group, Daimler, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Subaru, and Volkswagen recorded record U.S> light vehicle deliveries in 2012, as the auto industry outperformed 2011 by more than 13%.GM's 18% share a new low for auto maker.

 

December 2012 Light Vehicle Sales Volume:
WardsAuto forecast: 1.38 million units
Actual sales: 1.35 million units
Forecast/Actual Differential:2.2%

December 2012 Light Vehicle SAAR:
WardsAuto forecast: 15.65 million
Actual SAAR: 15.3 million

U.S. Sales Summary Table: Company by Company reporting day updates.

More bounce-back and replacement sales from Superstorm Sandy, strengthening market and aggressive marketing are forecast to push the U.S. LIght vehicle seasonally adjusted sales rate to a five-year high. Sales updates below -

NOTE: December % Change is based on daily sales rate for the month - December 2012 had 26 days, versus 27 in December 2011. DailDecesales

3:00: For the second month in a row, the U.S. LV SAAR topped 15 million units, signalling the comeback of the U.S. auto industry.

U.S. LV Sales were up 13.2% in December, bringing  full-year 2012 LV sales to 14.44 million units - in line with WardsAuto's intial 2012 forecast of 14.5 million.

Audi, BMW Group, Daimler, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Subaru, and Volkswagen all posted record sales in 2012, while Audi, BMW Group, Daimler, Kia,Subaru and Volkswagen all took record market shares.

GM's 18% share of the U.S. market was the company's lowest take on record. Hyundai dropped share year-to-year for the first time since 1998.

2:30 p.m.: The seasonally adjusted annual rate will finish at 15.31 million units for December, on the strength of 1.35 million sales - up 13.2% over year-ago.

2:00 p.m.: With just two companies to report, the U.S. Light Vehicle SAAR for December dipped from earlier estimates and WardsAuto's projections, to 15.3 million units - slightly below November's rate, but still a strong finish for the year.

BMW reported December daily sales up 39.9%, lifting their year-to-date toatl 13.8% over full-year 2011. Luxury competitor Daimler's daily sales were up 16.1% for the month, and 14.3% for the year. European auto makers sold 1.39 million vehicles in 2012, up 19.2% over year-ago.

1:30 p.m.: Kia reports 6.2% decline in December daily sales. Still, 2012 is company's best ever, up 14.9% over year-ago. Solid growth, but numerous reporting companies, including Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Subaru and Audi made bigger jumps in 2012.

Combined Hyundai/Kia sales reached 1.26 million units, ahead of Nissan for the second time ever, and the second year in a row, leaving the South Korean auto maker group as the No. 6 auto seller in the U.S.

12:45 p.m.: Honda monthly sales were up 31% on a daily basis over a mediocre year-ago, and 8% below WardsAuto's projections, which counted on a more substantial boost from the new Accord.

Still Honda's sales increased 24% for the year, making 2012 the company's fourth best on record.

Honda's significant year-over-year gain comes against a 2011 beset with production and inventory issues stemming from the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan.

Nissan finished its best sales-year ever with a disappointing Dec, falling below 100,000 units, and gaining just 2.2% over year-ago's daily sales rate, well below the industry average. The company's full-year sales were up 9.5%, though, outpacing rival Hyundai's 8.9% growth.

Noon: Subaru posted it's best-sales month every, selling 36,653 units, a 12.9% lift over like-2011, the company's former best month. The company's 26% full-year gain, also made 2012 Subaru's highest-selling year in the U.S. - marking the fourth consecutive year that Subaru has set a company record for sales.

Volkswagen reports its December deliveries rose 40% over year-ago, to 44,005, bouncing the German auto maker's 2012 sales 35.1% over full-year 2011. Audi sales meanwhile were up 21.8% in December, slightly ahead of the company's 18.5% year-to-date improvement.

11:00 a.m.: Hyundai tweeted total of 59,435 up 22%, lifts estimated SAAR to 15.7 million units. Hyundai 2012 sales up 8.9%, behind industry average. Auto maker will lose share for first time in more than a decade.

GM's year-over-year gain of 3.7% among the year's smallest - will equate to the General's lowest market-share on record.

10 a.m.: Detroit Three results are in  - a combined 606,212 light vehicle sales for December, up 9% on a daily basis versus last December.

General Motors hits aggressive WardsAuto forecast mark on strength of its best retail sales month of the year - and its best December results in five years. Up 8.9% over December 2011 - finishing full-year 2012 3.7% above 2011.

Ford sales were up 5.5%, to 209,166 LVs, bring the companies 2012 tally to 2.2 million units - up 4.5% over year-ago.

And Chrysler's 14.5% rise in December sales, brought the company's strong 2012 sales total to 1.64 million units up 20.6% for the year.

Toyota reported selling 194,143 deliveries in December - just 1% below WardsAuto's forecast for the month, up 13.2% versus same-month year-ago, and up 26.6% for the full-year.

 

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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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