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US car market jumps out of the blocks

Caddie back: Cadillac’s ATS has taken off in US showrooms after winning the North American Car of the Year award.

Toyota and Cadillac lead bright start to 2013 for American car market

General News logo4 Feb 2013

THE recovery of America’s motor industry continued apace in January with sales topping one million vehicles, led by strong growth from the Detroit big three and their main rival, Toyota.

Even Cadillac – General Motors’ luxury brand that has struggled against highly fancied imports for years – hit its straps with a 47 per cent sales increase over the previous January after the ATS compact sedan was named 2013 North American Car of the Year.

The overall US market grew 14 per cent, to 1,043,192 units, giving the US industry the launch pad for another big year of more than 15 million sales.

Toyota outpaced its rivals with a 27 per cent increase to 157,501 sales for the month, reflecting the recovery from the Thai floods disaster that impacted sales 12 months ago.

However, the Japanese company still only came third in last month’s sales rankings, with GM’s 194,699 vehicles – up 16 per cent – leading the charge, followed by Ford’s 166,501 vehicles (up 22 per cent).

80 center imageFrom top: Ford Fusion Maxda CX-5.

Chrysler Group brought up fourth place with 117,731 sales (up 16 per cent), ahead of Honda with 93,626 (up 13 per cent).

One of the few companies to suffer a slide was Mazda, which was caught short of Mazda6 stock in the new model’s first month on the market.

Mazda sales slipped 11 per cent to 21,319 vehicles, even though the CX5 and Mazda3 both had record or near-record sales performances.

GM’s US sales operations vice-president Kurt McNeil said the January win was a very good way to start the year.

“There’s a sense of optimism among our dealers that only comes when you pair a growing economy with great new products,” he said.

“We started to see the benefits in 2012 with vehicles like the Chevrolet Sonic, Cadillac ATS and Buick Verano. Now in 2013, we’re entering the sweet spot of our product plan in a growing economy.”

Cadillac had its best retail month for 23 years, with younger buyers flocking to the new ATS – GM’s rival to the BMW 3 Series that hit the market in August.

While GM’s mainstream Chevrolet brand could manage a sales increase of just 10.9 per cent, Buick sales jumped 32 per cent and GMC rose 23.4 per cent.

Ford kicked goals across its range, with passenger car sales 34 per cent higher, led by a record January performance by the mid-sized Fusion (up 65 per cent).

The Escape compact SUV also scored a January record, while sales of the evergreen F-Series pick-up jumped 22 per cent to 46,841 units – making it easily the best-selling vehicle in the US for the month.

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