U.S. auto sales increase for every major brand except Toyota
Ford increased U.S. auto sales more than any other automaker in 2010 and passed Toyota to take No. 2 in sales behind General Motors. Every automaker increased U.S. sales except Toyota, which saw a decline in numbers. While automakers such as Ford and GM enjoyed a 2010 resurgence, Toyota was burdened by a plague of recalls that tarnished its once-spotless image.
A snapshot of U.S. auto sales
U.S. auto sales rose 11 percent in 2010 over 2009 and every major automaker except Toyota reported a sales increase. Ford, the only U.S. automaker to forgo a government bailout during the financial crisis, led all automakers with a 19 percent increase. Ford recorded increased sales for the second year in a row, a feat it hadn’t accomplished since 1993. Industry-wide, U.S. auto sales totaled 11.6 million units — an increase from 10.4 million in 2009, the first recorded increase since 2005 and the largest bump since 1984. Highlights included hefty sales gains for GM’s Chevrolet Cruze, Ford’s Fiesta and Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Why Ford passed Toyota
Ford passed Toyota as No. 2 in U.S. auto sales with 1.97 million vehicles sold in 2010, compared with Toyota’s sales of 1.76 million vehicles. Toyota reported that its sales were down 0.4 percent for the year. Toyota recalled more than 8 million cars and trucks worldwide in 2010, in large part for a phenomenon that became known as “unintended acceleration.” The Japanese automaker temporarily suspended production and sales of eight models in the U.S., including its best-selling Camry and Corolla. While Toyota worked to fix flaws in existing models, GM, Ford, Nissan and Hyundai were busy churning out new and better models.
Auto industry in legitimate recovery
The impressive performance leads analysts to believe that the U.S. auto industry is experiencing a legitimate recovery. The proliferation of new models and higher quality standards also has them declaring that Toyota’s days as the dominant automaker in the U.S. and the world may be gone for good. As Ford and GM demonstrated in 2010, new, well-made products are what matters most as U.S. car buyers return to dealer showrooms.