Total sales of passenger vehicles in 2012 were 14.4 million, according to WardsAuto. While overall industry sales were up more than 13.4%, consumer demand for cars pushed even higher to an increase of more than 18.9% from the previous year. Truck sales (which include minivans, SUVs, and pickups) increased about 8%. Some of the most important influences on auto sales levels in general are consumer confidence (which is affected by the housing, job and stock markets), consumer credit availability and gas prices.
2012 VS. 2011: U.S. LIGHT VEHICLE SALES: SALES UP 13.4%, BEST YEAR SINCE 2007
The final 2012 tally reached 14.4 million light vehicles, 13.4% above 2011 and the best year since 16.1 million in 2007. It marked the third straight year-over-year increase since the industry bottomed out at 10.4 million in 2009 – a 27-year low.
Both Passenger Cars and Light Trucks Are Popular
For the past decade, about half of new vehicle sales have been split between cars and light trucks—minivans, SUVs and pickups. Often consumers choose light trucks for their passenger and cargo capacity, four-wheel-drive features, towing capacity and more.
Automakers sold 14.8 million light vehicles in the U.S. market last year, up 13% from 2011, the highest mark since 2007. 2012 also marked the third-straight year of at least a 10% increase in sales – the last time this occurred, Richard Nixon was president. And if forecasts hold true, 2013 could see more than 15 million light vehicles sold.
Steady, Strong Sales Until 2008...and Now Growing Again