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A Year In Review – Auto News At Year’s End

As we settle into the new year, many news resources are recounting action that happened throughout several industries throughout the bulk of 2013. While some industries experienced slowing growth, others surprisingly finished the year with better sales than expected.


The car industry made a surprising finish at the end of 2013, with many automotive industry sources citing ‘better than expected’ results across the board. So, how well did the industry do by the end of 2013? In this brief article, we’re going to take a look at the industry’s activity throughout the end of 2013.


A Look At The Auto Industry During 2013


‘Much stronger sales than anticipated’


The most surprising thing about the car industry, at the end of 2013, was the sales results many companies experienced, despite the sluggish December.


While many people did refrain from buying cars in December, many companies still earned out their shares on the market. The known companies selling vehicles within the United States, according to sales tracker source Autodata, ‘earned 15.6 million buyers in 2013.’ That was notably up 9.2 percent from the previous year, the highest earnings since 2007.


Brands that performed well throughout the year included Subaru, Nissan, Hyundai and BMW, though many buyers appeared to have gravitated toward buying older vehicles, as more people are spending their money conservatively in post-recession times.


People were still buying in December, though, as according to price tracker TrueCar. The car price researcher site found that most car incentive programs topped out at an average of $2,676 per vehicle, which was 4 percent more than the results from the previous year.


TrueCar also found that the average December transaction price was around $30,786; when compared against the results from 2012, it was down 0.6 percent.


Due to the surprisingly great results from December, many in the industry are predicting that 2014 will break 16 million sales.


The car industry in 2013


Much of the surprising activity came from the performance of many companies and their associated brands.


One of the surprises came from Detroit, Michigan, where the famous auto market there ended up seeing a resurgence in sales. Detroit’s industry activity accounted for over 45 percent of brand new vehicle sales throughout 2013, activity that was up from its performance in 2012.


Another surprise stemmed from the type of vehicles that people bought in 2013. Pickups shined in the 2013 market—yes, pickups. Many tradesmen drivers were in the market this year, needing to buy heavy duty vehicles after facing an improving economy and job market. Pickups that were in the $40,000 and up range sold best, comprising at least one-third of their overall sales throughout the year.


In December, leasing comprised about 27 percent of sales in December. Buyers during the month of December seemed to be more attracted to the lower payments associated with leasing, leading to the increase.


Many car buyers were interested in the tried and true Honda CR-V, as it hit over 300,000 in sales throughout 2013. Other SUVs with exceptional 2013 sales included the Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion.


While the aforementioned were positive highlights, not everything in the market sold exceptionally well.


Smaller cars in most known types fell in sales, as reported by Autodata. According to their data, small cars fell about 8 percent in December sales, down over 7 percent throughout the entirety of 2013.


‘A long and steady recovery’


Throughout 2013, the industry faced what was considered a ‘long and steady’ recovery period, particularly after the wake of bankruptcies from famous makers GM and Chrysler over four years ago.


As mentioned, almost 16 million sales were generated from buyers who ended up making auto-related purchases throughout 2013, almost a 50 percent gain from 2009 data. Around that time, only about 10 million sales were generated from buyers in the wake of the Great Recession in that year.


To show how steady the recovery was throughout 2013, December sales ended up finishing strong, and according to some experts, marking a ‘strong finish to a great year of industry growth.’ That strong and steady growth accounted for at least an 8 percent increase in sales volume throughout the year.


Some experts, however, fear a slow of sales in 2014, especially with the amount of potential and current buyers who have poor or deteriorating credit.


This is indicated in the amount of car-related lending happening with prospective buyers, reported reaching 16 percent over the year. Leasing is also becoming more popular, as it accounted for about 30 percent of car sales, something that’s considered a record when compared to previous data.


Despite that, manufactures and the rest of the industry are expected to make accommodations for further promoting growth of the auto industry throughout the rest of 2014.


In favor of buyers


With the market essentially ‘regaining steam’ throughout the bulk of 2013, much of the automotive industry prospered well. Though, buyers themselves might not have fared well with making purchases throughout the year.


As mentioned, there’s been an increase in auto-related loans to buyers who might even have problems with credit. Even though interest rates are low, monthly payments might not agree with what some buyers can afford.


While some buyers might have found difficulties keeping up with the market in 2013, the majority have taken advantage of the industry’s offerings throughout the past year.


Since many car buyers might not have other commitments, like a home, to pay on a monthly basis, buying a new or used car was probably their best option for improving their quality of life. Notions like that are perhaps the reason why many people contributed to the car industry’s growth over the year.


The demand for more consumer friendly cars like SUVs and pickups, in addition to the returning popularity of luxury brands, helped the  industry regain some of the steam lost from the recession and troubles in the industry itself. In 2014, as expressed in this article, the industry hopes to keep up the ‘long and steady’ growth found in the previous year.


While such growth doesn’t happen overnight, it does happen as long as the industry can sustain its sales growth over the coming months.

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