CHRYSLER GROUP +21%
You might have expected Chrysler to give back some market share in the face of tougher Japanese competition, but instead Detroit’s scrappiest fighter added to its gains. The only clouds in the sky are the company’s higher than average incentive spending, and the slight slowdown in December (which was up only 10% over a year ago).
Town & Country +19%
Grand Caravan +28% (retaking the title of America’s number one minivan)
Grand Cherokee +21%
Dakota (it bit the dust in 2012)
500 (it got off to a slow start, but the 500 success is getting hard to deny)
AMERICAN HONDA +24%
Honda, like Toyota, was severely affected by the disaster in Japan, and it saw a similar revival in 2012. Successful launches of the CR-V and the Accord certainly helped. It appears that the rushed re-launch of the Civic is a success as well. After Honda dealers sold the heck out of the 2012 model in November to make room for the quick-fixed 2013, they then sold the heck out of the 2013 model in December: 33,118 of them.
Accord +41% (the new Accord looks to be a hit--sales were up 67% in December)
CR-V +29% (the bestselling SUV in the land)
Insight -62% (contrast that to the Prius…)
ZDX -50% (50 sold last month)
The Koreans stayed hot in 2012 (with another record year for both Hyundai and Kia), though not quite as hot as they had been. An embarrassment caused by overstated fuel economy figures was costly in the financial sense (millions of dollars to compensate owners of the affected cars) but appears not to have hurt sales. For 2013, the company says that it will be able to crank out more of its most popular models (Elantra, Sonata, and Santa Fe), all of which are being built on three shifts at Hyundai’s U.S. plant.
Veloster +276% (over a partial 2011)
Sonata +2% (best-ever full-year sales)
Santa Fe -5% (with a model changeover; the new version was up 43% in December)
NISSAN NORTH AMERICA +10%
Nissan didn’t have the big supply problems in 2011 that some Japanese automakers did, so its percentage gain in 2012 was unspectacular. Infiniti, though, did have those issues, and it did shoot back up in 2012--although much of that was the addition of the JX.
JX --% (new for 2012, the JX quickly established itself as the brand’s most important model behind the G)
Altima +13% (over 300,000 units, but fell from 4th place among all nameplates to 6th)
Sentra -8% (it was a model-change year for the Sentra, but the new one was down in December)
Xterra -6% (doesn’t anyone mountain bike anymore?)
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP +30%
The Volkswagen Group’s 2012 sales increase was the best of any major manufacturer, topping even resurgent Toyota. All five of the company’s brands operating in the States contributed, but the engine of the growth was Volkswagen. While the industry overall has seen its sales rebound back up to 2007 levels, VW sales in 2012 were running at a pace not seen since 1973. Interestingly, 1 in 5 VWs sold last year was a TDI.
Passat +413% (an outsized percent increase over the all-but-dead previous model, but more impressive is that it’s the Passat’s best full-year total ever)
R8 -30% (though it pains us to say it)
Cayman -66% (that’s the old Cayman; the new one will be out soon)