Year-End Sales to be Biggest in Years

Car Lot II

Many experts are predicting that the 2011 year-end sales volume will be one of the best years we've seen in quite a while. Of course, that's not saying much, given the fact the U.S. economy took a huge hit at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009. 

Auto sales just over two years ago were 10.4 million vehicles, while conservative guesses on the final 2011 numbers will be closer to 12.8 million units. Early optimistic prognosticators say 2012 could get us back closer to a prosperous 14 million vehicles sold in a single year. 

The final numbers are still at least a week or two away, but we do have the plant production numbers as reported by the various auto manufacturers, which then reported to Automotive News. And the numbers look promising. Of course, these are not actual sales, but they do represent the vehicles produced by the manufacturers as a result of the requests by their dealership networks. 

Overall, not too many surprises. Small, fuel-efficient cars like the Chevy Cruze and Ford Fusion, as well as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, continue to sell well. A bigger surprise might be the fact that small SUVs have done quite well, such as the Jeep Compass, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox. Likewise, the more traditional body-on-frame two- and four-door Jeep Wranglers are causing quite a stir, with production numbers closing in on 200,000 units for the year.

However, the segment with the biggest consistent gains is the pickup truck category. Most who watch this segment closely know there was a lot of pent-up demand for these vehicles; professional, construction and fleet buyers have postponed their purchases, waiting for the economy to show small signs of growth.

Except for imports (all three had supply-line issues because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan), most truck makers are doing well, beating the average year-over-year sales improvement of 10 percent. Of course, we'll have more to talk about and more to say when the final numbers come in. 

Here's what we know from the mid-December production numbers from last week:

2011 Truck Sales

* Indicates discontinued models


@Michigan Bob - I suspect that you quoted sources that follow the same definition of "truck" as the "North American Truck of the Year award". They consider any CUV, SUV, pickup, mini-van, and van as a truck.
That would be:
Chevrolet: Orlando, HHR, Equinox, Tahoe, Suburban,Colorado, Silverado, Avalanche
GMC: Terrain, Traverse, Acadia, Yukon, Canyon, Sierra
Cadillac: SRX, Escalade's
Ford: Escape, Edge, Flex, Explorer, Expedition, Ranger, F-Series
Lincoln: MKX, MKT, Navigator
That would be 16 badges versus 10.
I would expect that GM Corp should have an advantage.
GMC's Cadillac brand is superior to Ford's Lincoln brand. Cadillac has done a great job of having their own shape and style whereas Lincoln is just an ugly rebadge of Ford vehicles.

I 2nd that, Lincoln needs a major styling redirect.

On brand issue, Ford sold off a lot of there brands in recent years, GM closed down several of their brands.

But when talking trucks, it seems even though GM has 2 brand names that when both brands are combined and model variations are counted, they are similar to Fords.

Ford has a XL,STX, XLT, FX4/2, Larriat, Platinum, King Ranch, Raptor, LTD,HD. 10 Versions of the F150.

GMC has SL, SLE, SLT, Denali, Chevy has W/T, LS, LT,LTZ. only 8 version with both lines combined.

I think ford is marketing in a similar way, just under one brand name, in the since that all the variations have a different look, different contents, and different price points.
Both approches seem to be pretty succesfull based on the sales figures, to 1 and 2 in USA best selling vehichles inc, cars trucks and SUVs.

GMC is horrible and redundant. It's like if Ford made a Mercury truck off the F-150 platform and sold some. Then Ford could say "look, we sold x amount of Mercury trucks!" Luckily Ford isn't that stupid. They understand what brand dilution is and have watched how it ruined Chevrolet. Real trucks don't have twins. What a complete waste of my tax dollars.

I forgot to mention GMC Savana, and Chevy Express.
Ford has the E - series.
That would be 18 GM Corporate badges versus 11 Ford badges.
Those would be using the broadest definition of a "truck".

If you look at the "North American Truck of the Year award", the Mini Countryman was a runner up in the award selection process.

@Michigan Bob - yup, be proud of a company that has trucks in the same category as the "Mini".

@REDMAN I agree. Everything about GMC is horrible and redundant. Chevy is as horrible as it gets. The Corvette is okay for guys who can't afford a real sports car. The Camaro is okay. It gives Dodge Challenger cars an alternative to the Rustang to spank.

The Savana is a joke. They don't even sell any of those things compared to the Express. Why it's still around is just symbolic of Old GM. GMC is the definition of Old GM. A rudundant, pointless, brand diluting waste of money. I agree with you guys, no company needs 2 truck lines. Just utterly stupid. They're going to completely ruin the only brand (Chevrolet) that can save them going into the future. They've already been ruining Chevy trucks for quite some time in favor of it. You watch though, if GM can find a way to screw their future, they will. If Obama could have done 1 thing right I could have praised him on it would have been to close that ridiculous brand.

wow, alot of folks likes to spin things in their favor. really guys, what does a manufacture selling the most have to do with u directly? ur not getting a piece of their profit, ur not getting a free truck when they sell the most, ur not getting snything. the only thing ure getting is a immature egotistic mouth to spew out an take up bandwith on the site. no matter the qty the manufacture sells, u still have to buy ur own truck with ur own money, in other words, the manufacture wins while u lose.

@uh huh - just you wait until January rolls around and December sales stats are posted, or 2011 year stats are posted. A week of crabbiness, menstrual cramps, and bleeding by all of the girls ;)

Thanks to tornados, floods, etc.

All those destroyed vehicles had to be replaced.
That must have helped.


"Ford Ranger is outselling most small pickups without a bodychange in decades!!!"

Fleet sales should not count as most municipalities and businesses opt for the cheapest and smallest pickup and the Ranger fits the bill...


yea and all the name calling, lies, denile, trolling will start all over again

@ uh huh

The sales figure arguments are childish and worthless. Ford and GM are within a few percent of each other.

It's no coincidence that volume + discounts = sales. It's no coincidence that Ford and GM, the two largest producers in NA, are 1-2 in truck sales. One of them will sell more than the other, it's just the way it is.

I've had both trucks for consulting/oilfield use (Dodge, too)and all had POS issues at some point. I didn't buy either of them because one sold more than the other (or any other brand for that matter). Apparently, selling more than anybody else didn't make them trouble-free.

The reality is it was easy to buy Ford/GM (and Dodge) because there's a pile of discounted stock on the lots at all times.

Sales figures are for guys that don't need trucks and there's plenty of them on this blog.

Selling piles of bulk McTrucks to the Alberta oilfield isn't a measure of being better. It's a measure of being able to access the proper vehicle for cheap and tossing it in the re-sale heap when they're done with them. These trucks are never meant for any type of re-sale but are simply a cost of doing business.

There's a lot of misconception that selling more means better but it couldn't be further from the truth in most cases. It doesn't mean brand bias doesn't exists from those purchasing but brand bias never got me a perfect truck whether I bought it or somebody bought it for me.

If you ask me, for the price they charge for them now they're all POS's the second anything goes wrong with them no matter how small.

@DaveB - bang on post. They all have their good points and bad points. My brother works in the forest industry in BC. He's had every brand and they all fall apart and are worthless at the point the lease expires. Big companies know that. That is why they go with lowest bid.
#1 in sales only helps if they are also #1 in profits. I personally do not buy based on sales figures, nor do I care. I'm not a shareholder or executive who gets dividends or bonus's for sales. I play the sales game just to shake the nuts out of the tree of those who do seem to care.

Where I live the Tacoma is not the best seller...THANK GOSH!

In fact back in the early 1990's, I was the first in a 5km radius that even owned a Toyota pickup! Those were the days...

In our neighborhood we have only one 1st generation Tacoma, 2 Tundra's and a crap load of Camry's, Corolla's, Highlanders, a Sequoia, and many Avalon's...

Neighbor drives a Silverado and the other 2 houses down a F-150, big deal, no originality to those pickups, just stock like all of the other sheeple full-size...

Glad I am not a sheeple like the vast majority out there!

and Oxi wonders why Toyota gets hammered all the time on this site.........

Quote "Glad I am not a sheeple like the vast majority out there!"

For once I agree with you 100%.

We are all glad we ain't like you either!

@ Lou

I tried posting a long reply to your previous post but it's gone! I don't have the energy to try it again lol.

So, to make a long story short, YES!!! Sales mean nothing and I agree with what you say.

There have been a few users here recently making some relevant comments so hopefully the trend continues.

If true, this is a bit of good news because money is flowing through the economy because of these sales. Any sale, after all, is better than no sale at all. So a SAAR of 14M is better than a SAAR of 10.2M. It's not 16M or 17M, yet it is better than nothing.

But before we start congratulating the US auto industry and slapping each other on the back, we should ponder how much better sales would be if the economy had been better, or if more of the unemployed had actually found work. Maybe if more people had been employed, more people would have had money to buy a new car or truck.

And for that we have to look to America's economic policies and what the current Administration and Congress are doing to make America's economic policies more business-friendly.

It is still more advantageous for American business to produce in Mexico or China than it is to produce in the US. And that's the bottom line. Business goes wherever it is they can make the most money.

@Oxi: I bet the people that get stuck behind you on the road are glad there's just one of you! "Would you look at this guy? Driving slow as can be! He must have a 4 cylinder in that truck, and it's already at GVWR, without carrying a load. He can barely stop it, too.-Says the full size driver who can control the load better. My brother in law just bought a crew cab Tacoma, now he want's me to move a trailer (that's too big for his truck) to a permament spot. He used to have a Kia Sportage I believe it is, but why did he even bother getting a truck?

@ RonL - Man your post is dead on. I'm waiting to see how the conservative media rips into GMC whenever it happens. And once the truck/suv hating lefties grasp Obama left 2 truck lines in tact they'll flip out too. "Sierra and Savana"... 2 Girls names I'd rather forget.

I'm not driving any truck that doesn't have a Blue Oval, a Bowtie or a Ram on the front. I can't believe MY tax dollars went to support that pointless brand either. It makes me sick. Then on top of it GMC devalues and ruins Chevrolet trucks and suv's at the same time. Chevy can't compete against the premium upscale quallity of Ford and Dodge because GM purposely dumbs Chevrolet down. This in turn will only cause permanent long term damage to Chevrolet. Which IN TURN causes permanent damage to Our GM investment. GM will then tank and it will have all been a big waste of taxpayer money for nothing in the end. Thanks GM. Buick needs to go back to China and GMC needs to be buried for good in GM's 'Redundant Brand Graveyard'.

@tommorland38 - you mean Oldsmobie not Pontiac? Olds is the old guy brand that the Chnese like.
You are right that GMC purposely dumbs down Chevrolet.They are trying to appeal to the Bobs that buy Chevy trucks.Mark my words, Ram is destined to be the number 2 brand in the USA. It is a mater of time. GM Corporuption will die.

Anyone can come up with numbers and make them say what they want to prove a point. Thats what analyst get paid for. One guy is talking American numbers, another is talking North American numbers (US, Mexico, Canada), One is talking Pickups and the other All trucks, less the Ford Transit which is an import from Turkey. My suggestion: This is a pickup site and the figures will be out in a couple of days. Then you can start this process all over again. My ride is an 8 year old Dodge 1500, 3.7L V-6 automatic built in St.Louis. As far as I know this plant is no longer open. Bought the truck new and it is not a money pit. The dealer provides an oil and filter change every 3000 miles for $7.77 as long as I own the vehicle. Which should be 16 to 20 years.

Government Motors Communism is in 2nd place.

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