The Cadillac ATS and the Ram 1500 - photo from Detroit Free Press
(USA TODAY) - Automakers got off to a huge sales start for the year, with General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler all reporting sold sales gains in January.
Ford says sales rose 22% and both GM and Chrysler said they were up 16% compared to the same month last year. They cited great sales across-the-board, from pickup trucks to small cars. Best of all for profitability, they say they are selling more cars to individual customers.
The average new vehicle sold for $30,812 last month, up $300 from the same month a year ago, car shopping service TrueCar.com reports.
Buyers benefited from discounts. Average incentives were $2,372 per new vehicle, down only 0.4% in January from December, when buyers perceived they would get big discounts as dealers took one last shot at a big sales year. For the same two months last year, incentives fell 7.2%, according to car research site Edmunds.com.
"Car-shoppers will be glad to know that vehicle incentives haven't dipped much from December's year-end deals, as bargain-hunting is on the rise," says Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. "People are starting to notice their paychecks are less than they were in 2012 because of the payroll tax, and that will make good deals more attractive to anyone in the market."
How automakers are stacking up:
General Motors. The nation's largest automaker says its Cadillac division saw big gains and its best record of sales to individual customers in 23 years. Its Buick division saw strong sales of its Verano and Enclave.
Ford. The Fusion sedan and Escape crossover continue to be the bulwark of the lineup. Both posted strong sales gains.
Chrysler. The Fiat-controlled automakers says it saw gains in each of its divisions. Even Dodge Dart, a sore point since it didn't start selling as well as expected, it showing strength.