As far as the U.S. automotive industry is concerned, 2012 was a great year. Scratch that: it was a great year and the best since 2007, thanks to nearly 14.5 million light vehicle sales, representing a 13 per cent increase over 2011’s 12.7 million units.
Ford’s F-Series pickup truck was, once again, America’s best-selling vehicle with 645,316 deliveries.
Second place went to another truck, the Chevrolet Silverado (418,312), while the first passenger car appears in third place, and its none other than the Toyota Camry with 404,886 sales, leading Honda’s Accord and Civic that recorded 331,872 and 317,909 deliveries respectively.
Honda ruled the compact SUV segment, though, with its CR-V finishing well ahead of Ford’s Escape (281,652 vs 261,008 units).
In the premium segment, BMW’s 281,460 deliveries represented a 14 percent increase compared to 2011. They also made it the class leader, ahead of Mercedes-Benz (274,134 sales, up 11.8 percent) and Audi (139,310). The VW Group’s premium brand, though, grew the most last year (+18.5 percent) while, since 2009, its U.S. deliveries have increased by a stunning 68.4 percent.
The VW brand delivered 90,295 diesel-powered cars in 2012: that's a 55 percent rise compared to 2011 and it also means one in five VWs sold in the States last year was a diesel.
In the hybrid/EV class, the Chevrolet Volt tripled its sales compared to 2011 to 23,462 units, while Nissan sold just 145 more Leafs than 2011’s 9,674.
Toyota’s Prius family was the undisputed hybrid leader, with a 75 percent increase and 236,000 sales, while the muscle car battle was a close call, with Chevy’s Camaro beating the Ford Mustang by a narrow margin (84,391 vs 82,995 deliveries respectively).
In 2012 General Motors was, once again, the number one group in the U.S. with 2,595,717 deliveries, followed by Ford (2,243,009) and Toyota (1,664,660).
Despite increasing their sales by 4 and 5 percent respectively, both GM and Ford lost market share. Chrysler, on the other hand, which finished in fourth place overall with 1,651,787 deliveries, increased its annual sales by 21 percent, the most besides Toyota (27 percent) and Honda (24 percent) that made a strong comeback after the 2011 lack of supply hampered their sales.
Mercedes-Benz may have lost to BMW but its Smart division's U.S. sales increased by 92 percent, from 5,208 to 10,009 cars; even the dying Maybach recorded a 28 percent rise, selling 50 cars!
In 2013, the U.S. new light vehicle market is expected to grow even more, to 15 or even 15.5 million sales.
By Andrew Tsaousis