American Brands Reach Halfway Sales Point on a High Note

By Jacob Brown | July 03, 2012
For a while, it looked like Chrysler was cleaning house in the automotive market at the expense of the other two big American automakers, Ford and General Motors. But last month's sales numbers tell a different story, one with every U.S. automaker a winner. Projections show the U.S. market finishing 2012 with 14.4 million cars sold, up significantly from 12.8 million sold in 2011. That bodes well for automakers worried about space in the market for expansion. And it also bodes well for the the seemingly ever-suffering economy, which peaked at nearly 17 million cars sold before the Great Recession. Are we finally back?
Chrysler's winners
  • Since ditching Jenny from the block and picking up a supermodel and Charlie Sheen, the Fiat 500 picked up 4,004 sales last month and is up more than 300 percent on the year to already outsell its entire 2011 sales year.
  • The Chrysler 300 is destroying its last year's sales figures almost four fold. Drivers be ridin' fly, yo.
  • At 14,461 Jeep Wranglers sold last month, the little off-roader that could set its all-time best sales month since being released in the late 1980s under the Wrangler name.
  • The Dodge Dart found 202 homes in its first month on sale. Already at least one car has been totaled. Rally driver Travis Pastrana also killed a new Dart rally car, but we'll blame that one on the Saab that ran it into a wall, along with itself. Saab as a brand has a tendency to do that.
Chrysler's losers
  • The Jeep Compass was down nearly 700 units from last year's numbers. It still outsold the Chevrolet Cruze, by comparison.
  • Most of Chrysler's downturned sales numbers come from discontinuations. The Dodge Durango's 43-percent falloff likely comes from the company's CEO saying he was already planning on discontinuing the new SUV. Smart move, chief.
General Motors' winners
  • The Buick Verano sold 4,091 units in June, disproving doubters that there is, in fact, a market for a small, premium sedan.
  • Despite being off over the entire year, all of Cadillac's vehicles posted significant gains in June...except the dearly departed DTS sedan.
  • Rental fleets picked up 3,511 examples of the Chevrolet Captiva Sport last month, somehow a reassuring fact because it'll make your chances of being stuck in a Dodge Caliber the next time you're at Enterprise all the less likely.
  • Almost all of GMC saw pretty hefty sales gains last month. Truck yeah!
General Motors' losers
  • The Buick Regal has suffered a pretty lofty loss of 34.2 percent of its sales. Blame it on the entry-level Verano undercutting it, or call it part of a strategy to kill off less-plus versions of the midsizer.
  • The Chevrolet Cruze is off some 23.8 percent. Was its outstanding showing last year just a one-time fluke?
  • The GMC Yukon fell 24 percent, disappointing but not a staggering loss for a brand that's up 7.3 percent on the year.
Ford's winners
  • The Ford Fusion experienced its best June ever, up 17.4 percent to 24,433 cars sold. To us, it looks like there must be some great discounts, as Ford clears lot space for the all-new 2013 model.
  • Ford Mustang sales galloped past the Camaro's with 10,263 sold. That's more than 1,000 over its bowtie rival.
  • With a mix of old and new Ford Escapes on the lot, 28,500 found new homes.
  • Lincoln isn't dead yet, posting a 76.5 percent increase in MKT sales. Remember what an MKT is?
Ford's losers
  • There's no party to be had with the Ford Fiesta, as its sales declined some 17.1 percent. If it's any consolation, at least that bleeding is slower than its year-to-date 25.6-percent tumble.
  • The Lincoln MKS down 10.1 percent through the year's halfway point. It's a good thing the refreshed 2013 version just went on sale.
  • The Ford Ranger, Lincoln Town Car, and Ford Crown Victoria have each been discontinued, but they're still showing sales, a figurative moaning and groaning that there's still some life left in the old dogs.
Sources: Chrysler, GM, Ford