Automakers report growth in sales, market shareWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. automakers reported a second straight year of growth in sales and market share in 2011, according to results reported Jan. 4 by Chrysler, Ford and General Motors Co.
Automakers expected U.S. sales to reach 12.8 million vehicles, an increase over the 11.5 million sold in 2010 and 10.4 million in 2009, which was a 30-year low for the industry, reported the Associated Press.
Ford, GM and Chrysler saw their combined share of the U.S. market increase from 45.1 percent in 2010 to 47 percent through November 2011. During the same period, Honda’s share dropped 1.6 percentage points to 9 percent and Toyota’s fell 2.5 percentage points to 12.7 percent, AP reported.
GM reported sales of more than 2.5 million vehicles in 2011, a 14 percent increase over sales in 2010. December sales accounted for 81 percent of GM sales in 2011, led by a 54 percent increase in Chevrolet Cruze sales.
Ford brand sales in the U.S. increased by 17 percent, surpassing the 2 million vehicle mark for the first time since 2007.
Ford Fusion had a record year with 248,067 sold in 2011, more than its previous sales since it was introduced in the 2006 model year.
The Chrysler Group reported a U.S. sales increase of 26 percent overall in 2011 while its market share grew 1.3 percent, the largest percentage sales and share gains of any automaker, according to the company.
Chrysler sales increased 37 percent in December 2011, marking the 21st consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains and seventh consecutive month of sales gains of at least 20 percent.
Jeep brand sales increased 41 percent in December 2011, the best sales month since December 2007. The Jeep Wrangler set a new sales record for the month of December, its seventh consecutive monthly sales record in 2011.
The demand for Jeep Wranglers is the reason that workers at the Jeep Supplier Park at the Toledo Assembly Complex have been working 10-hour shifts six days a week in 2011, producing an average of 55 vehicles per hour.
Both Jeep production plants worked one 10-hour shift per day Dec. 27-31 when they are usually idle between the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to Chrysler and the UAW.
A number of local Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealers also experienced record sales in 2011. It was a record year for the Yark Automotive Group in Toledo.
“We actually had the best volume year in our 30-year history and we think it will continue to get better in 2012,” said John Yark, president of Yark Automotive.
He reported that Yark Automotive was fourth in the country and first in the Great Lakes business center in Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep sales in 2011.
Yark said that the Toledo area has been one of the best markets for Chrysler and Jeep sales in the country for decades, selling as much as three times the national average for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep products in Northwest Ohio.
“People want to support Chrysler and Jeep here,” Yark said, reporting that Chrysler employee and supplier business is significant for their dealership.
“It’s a great story with the expansion and growth of the Jeep plants here and increase in jobs and quality to make it one of the best manufacturing facilities in the world,” he said.
“The loyalty to Jeep in Toledo is unbelievable,” said Denny Amrhein, managing partner of Grogan’s Towne Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Toledo and Charlie’s Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Maumee.
About 90 percent of the business at Grogan’s and 75 percent at Charlie’s comes from Chrysler employees, families and friends, Amrhein said. The Grogan dealership expanded its showroom when it added the Dodge brand in 2009 and Jeep in 2010.
“We had a really good year in 2011 with increases in new and used car sales at both stores. We’re expecting a great year in 2012,” Amrhein said.
He reported that 60 percent of the business at Grogan’s is from Ohio and 40 percent from Michigan for the dealership that is located about a half-mile south of the state line.
Yark Automotive celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2011, since taking over the former Papenhagen Oldsmobile dealership in Toledo.
Both Yark and Amrhein worked at the Papenhagen dealership on Sylvania Avenue early in their automotive careers.