US auto industry concludes 2013 with upbeat sales

Chicago, Jan 4: Major automakers in the US market reported their best sales in six years in 2013, though bad weather in December dragged down US auto sales below an annualised rate of 16 million vehicles.

Total auto sales in the US were estimated to reach 15.6 million vehicles in 2013, up about 8 percent year on year. It would the best sales year for the industry since pre-recession 2007, when 16.1 million vehicles were sold in the US market, Xinhua reported.

Ford Motor Co. said Friday that its auto sales in 2013 rose 10.8 percent to reach 2.49 million units, the highest level since 2006. It sold 763,402 F-Series trucks, now the best-selling vehicle in the US for 32 straight years, while sales of small cars and sport-utility vehicles, including the Fiesta subcompact, Fusion midsize sedan and Escape compact SUV, set annual sales records.

Chrysler Group LLC finished 2013 with US sales going up 9 percent to 1.8 million units, the best since 2007. Sales of Ram pickup climbed 21 percent to 355,673 units and that of Durango SUV jumped 43 percent to 60,727 units.

General Motors Co. (GM) ended 2013 with a seven percent sales gain, selling 2.8 million vehicles. GM’s four brands, Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac, all sold more vehicles in 2013 than they did in 2012. Sales of Cadillac rose 22 percent to 182,543 units.

Auto sales by Toyota Motor Corp. in the US rose 7.4 percent to nearly 2.24 million units in 2013, despite a 1.7-percent sales decline in December.

Auto sales have always been regarded as an early indicator of consumer spending. Based on the 2013 performance, market analysts predicted that the economy would keep growing in 2014, and auto sales may rise to pre-recession levels.

IANS