2012 full of eastern promise for carmakers

In an industry-wide boom (or 'brum') BMW, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are enjoying a tyre-smoking sales boost.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Following Nissan and Bentley’s record sales announcement last week, three more carmakers have posted red-hot results. The appetite for new cars in China - especially upmarket motors - has completely reversed the fortunes of a sector that was struggling in the European and US markets.

First up, BMW reveals record sales of 1.67 million vehicles in 2011, up 14.2% on 2010. It was a storming year for the owner of the BMW, Mini and Rolls Royce brands. Third quarter revenues rose by 3.8% to €16,547m and turnover for the nine months to December hit €50,472m, up 15.4% on the same period in 2010. With the launch of its new 3 series, there’s a clear path to profit for BMW in 2012 too. ‘We're starting 2012 with a very good order book and very young model range,’ says BMW chief executive Norbert Reithofer. ‘This should provide some momentum.’ Don't get too carried away, Norbert...

Chrysler had an even better 2011. Not so long ago, the firm was bust. Now free from its Daimler shackles, the Dodge and Jeep-maker has smashed the growth figures of its competition with a 26% gain in sales. The Michigan-based firm sold 1.37 million vehicles in 2011, up from 1.09 million in 2010 and 931,402 in 2009.

On to GM, which was also briefly in Chapter 11 back in 2009. The firm has reported 2011 sales of 2,503,797 vehicles, up more than 13% on 2010. That’s an average of one car or truck every 12 seconds. The firm has reclaimed the top spot in world vehicle sales from Toyota, which stole the title last year. China fuelled the sales spike, with deliveries to Chinese dealers up 8.3% in 2011 to 2.55 million vehicles.

Ford has also stepped on it in the sales stakes. Its 2011 revenues were up 11%, getting 2,143,101 vehicles off the production line and onto the road. Ford’s best-seller was the F-Series pickup yet again (this is its 30th year at the top of the pile): 584,917 were sold last year.

The only real loser last year was the Japanese car industry, which was crippled by the earthquake and Thailand's floods back in March. But 2012 may well see a slowdown in sales at the US and European firms as Japan starts to claw back market share. After all, firms like Toyota and Honda have proved to be quite good at this carmaking malarkey in the past...

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