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The US Auto Industry may be looking at a 2011 filled with sales gains, if NADA's forecasters are correct. The National Automobile Dealer's Association predicts that US auto sales will rise 11.3 percent. That puts total volume just shy of 13 million units.

The reason for the increase? The average age of cars and trucks on the road is approximately 10.3 years. Therefore, the increased sales will be driven by consumer needs rather than desires. Basically, people will have to upgrade their heaps for something shiny and new (and running).

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req. | Image: Kevork Djansezian/Getty]


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  • 24 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is Detroit's first (and possibly last) real chance of becoming relavent again in decades.

      They have been missing from the driveway of many households for a generation or more. Now that new car sales are projected to be up, they better take that opportunity to do their darnedest to win back sales that they had lost to the likes of Toyota and Honda.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Ford quality is above Honda according to JD power. Ford is also above everyone but Toyota, in perception of quality.


        Ford is wrecking shop right now, and their cheaper car, the Mustang GT, is faster around a track than an Evo or a WRX STI, oh and it's cheaper.

        Ford, is quite relevant. Dropping the new Focus is just going to make things that much better. The interior, at least in pictures is amazing, and if the quality is anything like their current cars, it'll be amazing too. They'd have to drop the ball considerably to become irrelevant.

        You're right, 8 years ago I wouldn't even argue, but things have changed, Ford has stepped up, and is more than just playing ball, they are winning. As the home team we should all be proud.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @gua

        Fiat owns 20%....... However, before everyone continues to beat on gua.... Note that Fiat did disclose they they plan on getting 51% of Chrysler before an IPO happens! So when that happens it WILL be owned by Fiat.. Not now though..
        • 4 Years Ago
        > chance of becoming relevant

        If i'm not mistaken 2 out of 3 Detroit automakers have beaten Japanese automakers in sales for 2010, on US soil ofc. (One of them managed to do so without taxpayers' money.) In my books that makes them quite relevant.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have to agree somewhat.

        I *LOVE* what Ford is doing, but in a few years I'm picking up a current-gen Sonata. I just can't see anything domestically made that I would be in the price range to get that I like - I like the Fusion but I like the Sonata more. It's a matter of opinion, of course.

        Now if my budget weren't limited to $25k and/or the sensibility to not own a muscle car (for when I start a family) .... the new Jeep GC, Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, new Focus, new Edge, new 300, LaCrosse and Regal, Taurus, CTS, Enclave, Traverse, Equinox, etc are all really nice cars. I'm purposefully forgetting stuff about $35k, because I could add another dozen cars to this list. =)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Whether you are the undisputed number One or you are down to 2nd or 3rd place in the market you are still obviously quite relevant. It is a stretch to say the Ford and GM ever reached the point of not being relevant in North America. Even when Toyota outsold them. Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Saab, Volvo and Smart are brands that are no longer relevant in North America (especially the US). GM, Ford and even Chrysler never fell that low in the sales charts in their worst months.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Yaroukh

        Chrysler is not Detroit. Chrysler is Fiat owned.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @neevers1:

        As usual, you're referring to the JDPower INITIAL quality study which looks at problems experienced in the first 90 days which basically means nothing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The reason they aren't seeing the sales increases that these cars diserve is because it's very very hard to change the perception of their brands. Just as it was hard for japanses cars to prove themselves, and were considered garbage when they arrived, remember that? Don't think so. It's also the same reason toyota is still seen as a good car company, even though they went through the fire this year, right or wrong, it's hard to change what people think.

        However, what people think and what is reality are two different things. VW for example sells some of the most unreliable cars made today, same with mitsu and land rover, yet people still love them and buy again and again. I personally know someone who had nothing but trouble with their 2001 Golf, and just bought a GTI, imho that's insane.

        Is Ford the quality equal to Honda, I think so, and I hope they continue making what I consider to be class leading cars, in the new focus, fusion, tauras, and mustang. They will have to continue for many years to get to where the perception is where their quality is at.

        It's hard to tumble from the top, and twice as hard to climb back up. Again, I'll point out that back in 2002, when I bought my second car, it was a honda, as was my first, and my 3rd, however Ford has won me over, it was a hard fought battle, and honestly I didn't even consider a Ford until I started looking at them. When I first sat in a Ford, I couldn't believe it was made by the same company that had made the cars of the 1990s and early 2000s, they just aren't the same cars.

        They will need to continue putting out cars that can compete with the BMW M3, and all the Japanese cars to keep the climb back to the top in perception, but lets remember perception lags reality. Toyota thought they could ride on perception, and that is catching up to them.

        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Yaroukh

        Those are all very new numbers though (relatively speaking).

        Look back just 3 or 4 years and there is no way anyone could call Detroit relevant in the US car scene. Heck, even today, take out Detroit's truck line and they only have ONE car on the top 10 list and only 4 out of the top 20 list.

        Yeah, Detroit is improving rather dramatically, but they still need the higher volume sales to maintain their growth and increase their marketshare. There are still tons of households out there that have been buying Toyota after Toyota after Toyota for decades now - its winning back (and keeping) those folks with great new products that will be Detroit's ultimate test.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yaroukh,

        Ford and GM only managed to outsell Toyota by dumping unwanted cars and trucks on fleets. Toyota is #1 in the US in the only sales that really matters, retail sales (and they did it with a fraction of the incentives the D3 use). So Hazdaz has a point, the D3 need to become relevant by making better cars and trucks that people want to buy with their own hard earned money so they don't have to rely on fleet sales to move excess unwanted inventory like they have done for decades.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The fact that Toyota is doing so well considering their very real drop in quality over the past few years means Detroit has an uphill battle. They've got to overcome brand loyalty that keeps people buying from the same manufacturer despite there being better alternatives. The flip side, of course, is that if they can win that customer and make them loyal, the same "sticky" effect applies to them too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Im pretty sure thats my dealership.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It could go up 11% next year and 20% the year after that.
      If it goes up 50% and unemployment is at 2% then I will still hear fox news spend all of 2012 saying the bailout and stimulus were complete failures....
      And as an extension I will still be looking at some friends wide-eyed and slack-jawed at their parroting of that assertion.
      • 4 Years Ago
      One of the reasons they are predicting a rise in auto sales is that despite the recession, the rate at which cars and trucks were being scrapped didn't go down that much (~12M per year). When the industry was selling 15M+ per year, the fleet was more or less keeping pace with the increase in the number of drivers. When the sales plummeted to 9-10M per year, the fleet shrank, even though the number of drivers continued to increase. Sales are projected to return to the 15M per year range over the next few years, just to maintain the size of the fleet. The US market is not expected to return to its peak (17M) for a long time, and the Chinese market is expected to remain the worlds largest.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Things are looking up.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am one of those that might "have" to replace my car this year, but if I can put if off another year then I will.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was in your boat last year. My 19 year old Maxima is set to die at any time now. My mechanic all but assured me that it won't pass inspection again. Still, i'm pretty happy that I got as many years out of it as i did.
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