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Toyota, Ford, GM sales advance on sharp rise in car, crossover deliveries
Automotive News
February 1, 2013
by David Phillips

Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Chrysler Group posted double-digit sales increases in January, signaling the industry may be starting 2013 on a stronger note than expected.

Toyota said its combined sales of Toyota, Scion and Lexus models jumped 27 percent to 157,725 units in January. Toyota was helped by big gains for the Prius hybrid line, the new Avalon sedan, the Corolla, and a 26 percent advance in truck deliveries.

Lexus posted a 27-percent-increase in volume last month.

"The sales pace we saw in the fourth quarter of last year rolled into January, exceeding our expectations for the industry," said Bill Fay, general manager of Toyota Motor Sales.

A 75-percent surge in sales of the Accord, redesigned for 2013, helped Honda Motor Co. post a 13-percent increase in January U.S. deliveries.

Nissan Motor Co. reported sales rose 2 percent, with the Nissan brand up 2 percent and Infiniti deliveries advancing 5 percent. Sales of the redesigned Pathfinder SUV and Sentra small car were substantially higher, but demand for the all-new Altima slipped 4 percent, Nisan said.

Hyundai Motor America, citing improved availability of key models, said it set a January sales record of 43,713 units, up 2 percent.

J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman calculated the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate for January could reach 15.4 million units, matching the December pace.

Ford said its U.S. sales rose 22 percent last month, with car volume advancing 34 percent and utility vehicle deliveries rising 23 percent. Ford's truck sales rose 11 percent.

The company said its U.S. retail sales, helped by new models such as the C-Max hybrid, rose 24 percent last month.

Sales at the Ford division jumped 23 percent, while Lincoln volume dropped 18 percent to 4,191 -- its lowest level since July 1981.

Ford blamed shortages of the new Lincoln MKZ sedan for the drop in volume at its luxury unit.

Still, it is Ford Motor Co.'s biggest gain in overall monthly sales since U.S. volume rose 40 percent in September 2010.

"Ford is off to a strong start this year, with Fusion and Escape delivering January sales records and F-Series seeing a particularly strong reception this early in the year," Ken Czubay, Ford's head of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a statement. "Our investment in fuel-efficient new vehicles – including EcoBoost engines and hybrid technology – continues to pay off."

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