Sales of new cars in the United States continued their upward trend in January, up 11 percent from just a year ago. That’s the fastest pace of in over four years, and if the trend continues throughout the year, automakers could be looking at a total of more than 14 million new cars being snapped up by consumers in 2012, far exceeding pre-2012 predictions from analysts.
Chrysler continues to lead the way and posted the largest increase of the Big Three, as they’ve done month after month for the last year. Chrysler said their sales increased by 44.3 percent from January 2011. Ford Motor Company also posted gains, with sales increasing by 7.3 percent.
Things aren’t quite so great for General Motors (GM). After reclaiming the crown as the world’s top automaker in 2011, January sales took a nosedive at GM. Cadillac and traditionally strong truck sales both declined, and GM saw its overall sales decrease by 6.1 percent.
That downward trend was evident in the sales figures for the Chevrolet Volt. Chevy’s electric and gasoline model sold right at 600 cars, less than half of the number of Volts moved in December 2011. We think the price of the Volt is the real reason consumers have rejected the model, but GM believes otherwise.
GM points to the NHTSA investigation into post-crash fires from the Volt’s battery as the biggest reason for the decline. The NHTSA has closed its investigation and indicates that the Volt poses no greater risk of fire than other automobiles on the road.