According to the economists of General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., U.S. auto sales in 2012 are expected to rise above the 12.5 million to 13.5 million units predicted for this year. At a gathering hosted by the National Association of Manufacturers last Wednesday, Ford senior economist C. Jenny Lin said that growth is expected in 2012 because vehicles are aging quickly.
She said that analysts continue to be very optimistic about the recovery of the U.S. auto industry. The average age of the vehicles in the U.S. is 10.6 years old, the highest that it has ever been so far.
Automakers see this as an indication that there’s a pent-up demand for new cars. Lin noted that 96 million vehicles were sold in the U.S. auto industry between 1996 and 2000. These vehicles are approaching the end of their run. She said that many consumers are considering if they should fix their old vehicles but the problem is that repair costs are going up.
She explained, "It's tradeoff mode." According to GM chief economist G. Mustafa Mohatarem, 2012 is better. However, Mohatarem mentioned that Dan Akerson, GM’s Chairman and CEO, anticipates "flattish" U.S. industry sales for 2012. Mohatarem said that planning should be conservative since a lot has gone wrong this year and that it’s still possible for things to fall in disarray for the remaining months.
Auto sales rose by 10% in September to reach a yearly sales rate of 13.1 million vehicles. Mohatarem added that sales are increasing, not due to the rise in demand, but because Japanese automakers are slowly recovering from the earthquake-caused production gaps. Mohatarem said Honda and Toyota are gaining but they still fall behind GM.
Ford will soon commence sales of the new 2011 Ford Fiesta in North America, offering a great combination of style, fuel efficiency, safety, powertrain technology and connectivity. Available in four- and five-door body styles, the new Ford Fiesta returns an estimated 40 mpg highway, which is much better than rivals like the Nissan Versa, Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris and Corolla.
Moreover, the new 2011 Ford Fiesta is exclusively available with 15 technologies, the first and only to have these in its class. Ford considers the new Fiesta as the next highlight of the ONE Ford’s plan to design and develop vehicles that cater to various needs, wants and expectations of global customers. In fact, Ford has already sold over 500,000 Fiestas in Europe and Asia.
During the development of the new Fiesta, extensive customer research was conducted around the world. According to the results of the research, customers listed style as the main priority, with those in Europe, North America and in Asia Pacific seeking small cars with a distinctive design, world-class quality and convenience as well as top-ranked comfort and connectivity.
Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas, remarked that customers have become savvy, seeking expressive cars that deliver great fuel economy, high quality and new technologies as well as a fun driving experience. Thus, the new Ford Fiesta – slated to set a new standard for small cars -- is the answer to this demand.