December Sales Up Slightly, 2013 Sales Total: 15.6 Million

December sales of automobiles and light trucks in the U.S. were up slightly from last year, but failed to meet analysts’ predictions due to winter storms and some sales being pulled forward in a strong November. Nissan led gainers, up 11% while GM had the worst year to year performance, down 6%. Most automakers closed out the year with an increase.

The seasonally adjusted sales rate also came in below expectations. The SAAR fell in December to 15.4 million from November’s six-year high of 16.4 million. Last year’s SAAR for December was 15.2 million so it’s a slight improveent. Most analysts predicted a 15.6 million unit SAAR for the month. Overall, December sales were up 0.2% from last year and for the year deliveries were up 8% to a total of 15.6 million units, the best year since 2007. Car sales were up 4% while light truck sales rose 11% on the strength of CUV and large pickup sales. This is the 5th straight year of increased sales since the industry cratered at 10.4 million units in 2009.

Full table below

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J.D. Power: December Nice, 2009 Naughty

J.D. Power thinks it has found some more Americans who want to kiss a new fender under the mistletoe. Based on reported transactions for the first 17 days of the month, collected from 8900 dealers, J.D. Power now projects a December SAAR of 11.2m units, Reuters reports. This would be up 9 percent from a truly dismal December a year earlier, which saw a sickening SAAR of 10.3m vehicles. In eggnog-powered exuberance, J.D. Power calls the sputtering back to life “a year-end rally.” And how’s the year going to end?

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  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
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  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.