Friday, January 28, 2011

Audi Will Feature A8 In Super Bowl Ad

Audi will have a 60-second TV spot set to air in the first break after kick-off of Super Bowl XLV.  The spot called "Release the Hounds" will feature an irreverent, satirical overtone and follow two well-dressed inmates as they attempt to break out of a luxury prison. Challenging viewers to re-think luxury, the ad will humorously feature a number of elements that recall the heyday of old luxury and will culminate with an unforgettable and comical cameo at the end. Audi's 2011 Super Bowl spot also will feature the 2011 A8, Audi's flagship sedan. The 60-second TV advertisement is being created by San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Super Bowl MVP Will Get A 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible

The Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLV, to be decided by a media panel and fan vote on from the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers on February 6th,  will receive a 2011 Camaro Convertible which arrives in dealerships in February. The 2011 Camaro Convertible is available with offered with a standard 312-horsepower Direct Injection V6 engine (29 miles per gallon on the highway) or with a  426 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine in the SS model. What's next - replacing the hardtop on Hawaii Five-0?

Kia Returns To Super Bowl With 2011 Optima Ad

 Kia returns with a new 60-second spot that will air in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLV titled “One Epic Ride,” and Kia will extend the campaign by giving away up to five Optimas through its “One Epic Contest,” which challenges consumers to solve a series of puzzles using clues provided in pre-Super Bowl and game day advertisements and social media postings. In “One Epic Ride,” people across space and time — from a police officer and an international villain to aliens and an ancient chief — will go to great lengths to snatch the all-new Optima from the clutches of others and put themselves behind the wheel. The Optima becomes an object of desire, and even Poseidon, the king of the sea, does his best to get his hands on the car.

Created by David&Goliath, “One Epic Ride” demonstrates the extreme measures people will go to get their hands on a midsize sedan that defies the conventions of the segment with a combination of striking design, exhilarating performance and outstanding value not found anywhere else in the category.

Volkswagen With 2 Super Bowl Ads: Passat & Beetle

Volkswagen will premiere two 30 second spots during the 2nd and 4th quarters of Super Bowl XLV showcasing two new vehicles that won't hit showrooms until later this year. The  all-new 2012 Passat and the 21st Century Beetle, are part of a pre-launch advertising and marketing campaign that includes television, digital, experiential, and retail activations to maintain momentum throughout the year.

With its all-new 2012 Passat ad, Volkswagen brings Star Wars™ to one of TV's most talked about events.  Accompanied by John Williams' iconic "The Imperial March," the spot features the most infamous villain in the galaxy, a pint-sized Darth Vader, who uses the Force when he discovers the all-new 2012 Passat in the driveway. The two iconic brands leverage humor and the unforgettable Star Wars score to create an emotional spot and make Super Bowl ad history.

In "Black Beetle," the first spot for The 21st Century Beetle,  there's CGI-generated lush kingdom where the Black Beetle rules, runs, navigates and out performs all the other creatures. With the song "Black Betty," rerecorded by Jon Spencer and the Blues Explosion, the Beetle ad does not feature any actual images of the car, a building anticipation of the reveal.

The ads come from Deutsch LA, Volkswagen’s new ad agency of record.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 Chrysler Town & Country & Dodge Grand Caravan In Production

The new 2011 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan had their production launch this week in Windsor, Canada, as two of the 16 new or significantly refreshed products Chrysler has debuted recently. The Chrysler Town & Country was 2010's best selling minivan with 112, 275 sold, a 33 percent increase compared with 2009, and Chrysler's second best-selling vehicle last year. The new 2011 model was shown in Detroit last week and the Dodge Grand Caravan in Los Angeles in November.

The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan both have the all-new 3.6-litre Pentastar V-6 engine with up to 2 miles per gallon improved fuel economy of 36 MPG Highway . Both feature a new fuel-economizer mode that helps maximize fuel efficiency and more than 40 safety features including a new driver-side knee blocker airbag, front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags, electronic stability control and tire pressure monitoring.

The newest features include the Super Stow 'n Go seating and storage system, with larger, more comfortable seats and with a new, easy to use one-touch fold down function, the Stow 'n' Place™ roof rack system that lets owners stow the roof bows in the side rails when they're not using them and snap them easily into place when needed to reduce aerodynamic drag and wind buffeting and there's a heated steering wheel. The Uconnect system offers touch-screen and voice command for control of multiple media sources, navigation and hands-free phone.

Chrysler claims to be the inventor of the modern minivan with the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager first launched in 1983 followed by the upscale Chrysler Town & Country in 1989 adding up to 13 million sold since. In 2010, 460,154 minivans were sold in the United States, up 11 percent compared with 2009.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

General Motors Executive Shuffle Again - Effective Feb. 1,2011

Thomas G. Stephens, 62, is the new Global Chief Technology Officer in a move to bring greater focus and urgency to developing leading edge technology for all General Motors vehicles. Stephens, 62, will continue to report to GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson who says  “Tom will make sure that GM technology keeps up with our customers and keeps ahead of our competitors.” The new CTO position is a major element of Akerson’s goal to make the company more customer driven and technology focused.  In December, Akerson elevated Joel Ewanick to Global Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for GM’s brands globally. Stephens also will be responsible for the company’s research and development organization led by GM vice president Alan Taub. The successor for Stephens is Mary Barra, named senior vice president, Global Product Development, to lead the design, engineering, program management and quality of vehicles for the company’s 11 brands around the world. Barra began her career with General Motors in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. In 1988, Barra received a GM fellowship to the Stanford Graduate School of Business and in 1990 graduated with an MBA.

Linda Marshall has been appointed president of OnStar succeeding J. Christopher Preuss, who has elected to leave the company to launch a communications consultancy practice. Marshall joined GM in November 2010 as executive director, OnStar global business strategy and development from  the position of chief operating officer for Revol Wireless. She will report to Stephen J. Girsky, vice chairman, corporate strategy and business development. Marshall has more than two decades of experience in the telecommunications industry, including senior executive-level roles at both Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless.  She holds a bachelors of science in accounting and business from Elmhurst College and completed the Executive Management Program at Stanford University.

General Motors is making changes in its U.S. marketing operations with former Chevy Marketing V.P. Chris Perry going to vice president, U.S. marketing, replacing Joel Ewanick who was named Global Chief Marketing Officer on Dec. 17, 2010.  Perry, 50, who will report to Ewanick, had served as U.S. vice president, Chevrolet Marketing, since September 2010. Prior to joining GM, Perry was vice president, marketing, Hyundai Motor America.  Perry also spent nearly 10 years at American Isuzu Motors, where he held a variety of marketing and advertising positions. In his new role, Perry will have responsibility for improving the positioning of the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands and consumer consideration of GM vehicles in the United States.

Rick Scheidt, currently executive director, Chevrolet product marketing, is named U.S. vice president, Chevrolet Marketing, replacing Perry.  Scheidt, 57, joined GM in 1980, and has held several marketing positions within GM, primarily with the Chevrolet brand.

John Schwegman, currently U.S. vice president, Buick-GMC Marketing, is named U.S. vice president, GMC Marketing. Schwegman, 46, began his career with General Motors in 1988.  He has held numerous sales and marketing assignments, including positions at the former Pontiac and Saturn divisions and in General Motors Market and Industry Analysis.  Most recently, he led the Marketing launches for Chevrolet’s current generation full-size trucks brands.

Tony DiSalle, currently product and marketing director, Chevrolet Volt, is named U.S. vice president, Buick Marketing. DiSalle, 46, began his career with GM in 1988.  He has held several management positions, including key assignments at OnStar and within GM’s marketing operations.

“These moves support our plans to continue building very clear and distinct swim lanes for our four brands, “said Joel Ewanick, Global Chief Marketing Director.  “These individuals have great track records for leading very aggressive and creative marketing strategies.”

BMW's Ian Robertson On In-Vehicle Technology


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011 NAIAS: Media Day 1 Was Overwhelming, Day 2 Was Empty

The North American International Auto Show kicked off with its first of two media days on Monday January 10th with 18 manufacturer media conferences, that's right 18! Beginning at 6:30am, or 3:30am for those of us who flew in from the West Coast, Porsche debuted the Porsche 918 RSR hybrid concept medium-sized coupe that will only be driven by the race car driver assigned to the vehicle, not the masses. A big deal for Porsche being their first Detroit appearance in years because Porsche doesn't sell many cars in Michigan, unlike Los Angeles where it always has a lavish, expansive display in its own exhibit hall. So, exhausted from the outset after a 5:30ET/2:30PT wake up call, it's race and scramble to make the media conferences. Just 10 to 15 minutes between the vehicle introductions so no time for lunch because you would miss BMW, Audi and Toyota. Nearly 12 hours later, the challenge was staying awake for the 6:15pm Chevy Sonic unveiling, by using the toothpicks from GM's mini-burgers to keep my eyelids open. As it turns out, it was Chris Perry's last Chevy announcement as he now takes over U.S. marketing under GM's global marketing chief Joel Ewanick.

The only manufacturer to present on Day 2 was Volvo which is going through a product realignment so they showed off a crashed electric C30 and only got some audience because Wall Street analysts were gathering to hear Ford CEO Alan Mulally next door explaining their global strategy to Wall Street analysts. Fitting that Volvo had a crashed car given the state of many of us West Coast journalists. Otherwise, Day 2 was for getting photos and videos of the cars that were so mobbed on Day 1, but unfortunately without the executives to provide commentary on their new products. My personal show disappointment was the absence of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, apparently shown in a sneak preview to a select group of invited journalists. Talk is that show organizers will have to go back to spreading out the OEM presentations over a few days. It will help the local economy, not to mention the health of the sleep-deprived California journalists. Twitter may have tweeted out on Day 1, too. On a positive note, by viewing this website, you can see the quantity of material gathered. Next stop is NADA in San Francisco where manufacturers and dealers mix to examine their industry and its challenges.

Toyota's Jim Lentz Forecasts Better 2011 Sales vs. Flat 2010

Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 NAIAS: MINI Paceman Concept Is Peppy 2-Door Countryman

The all-wheel drive MINI Paceman has a 211 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the same 1.6 liter John Cooper Works twin-scroll turbo engine that's in the John Cooper Works version of the Mini hatchback. Though still being billed as a concept, the Paceman will very likely go into production and showrooms. With so many tech-loaded small vehicles hitting U.S. streets, the MINI buyer must have an acquired taste and larger wallet than other compact car shoppers. The powerful Paceman promises to please those picky personalities.

2011 NAIAS: 2011 Jeep Compass Takes Cues From Grand Cherokee

 The new 2011 Jeep® Compass, taking design cues from the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, is available in three drivetrain configurations: Standard front-wheel-drive, the Freedom Drive I four-wheel-drive system and the Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package four-wheel-drive system that delivers Jeep Trail Rated® capability in Compass form. Compass features a standard 158 horsepower 2.0-liter World Engine with the continuously variable transmission and delivers 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway when mated to the five-speed manual transmission. The 172-horsepower 2.4-liter World Engine with dual Variable Valve Timing on both intake and exhaust camshafts, is available on all models.

 The 2011 Jeep Compass is available in three configurations: Compass, Latitude and Limited. All are available with front-wheel drive, the Freedom Drive I full-time, active 4x4 system or the Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package full-time, active 4x4 system with low-range capability. There's a long history of affection for the Jeep Grand Cherokee so its smaller sibling is hitting a market and loyalty sweet spot.

2011 NAIAS: Ford Vertrek Concept

The Ford Vertrek concept, built on Ford's global C-segment platform, has new 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine from the global Ford EcoBoost family mated to a new, fuel-saving Ford Auto Start-Stop technology. By 2012, the C-segment platform will underpin more than 2 million vehicles globally and by 2013, 80 percent of Ford's global nameplates and 90 percent of Ford's North American nameplates will have an EcoBoost option.

 Looks like Ford's latest charge into the growing mid-size CUV segment that Lexus started and built into a huge success with the RX.

Chrysler 200 Convertible: Retractable Hard Top Or Cloth Soft Top

The new 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible has been redesigned and re-engineered as a mid-sized convertible that seats four adults with ample room in the trunk, even when the power top is dropped. There are two automatically latching tops, a body-color painted steel, retractable hard top, or a cloth soft top, both of which can drop with the press of a button on the key fob. The 2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible is offered with the available new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and 2.4-liter I4 World Gas Engine, both mated to a six-speed transmission.

One of my favorites excursions was a 5-day, 1,100 mile late August drive behind the wheel of a Sebring retractable hard top through upstate New York and Massachusetts. If successor, the 200 convertible, is better, it will be a big hit.

Friday, January 14, 2011

2011 NAIAS: Audi A6 & A7 Are Loaded With High Tech Features

The new Audi A6 will arrive at dealerships in early 2011 with a 300 horsepower 3.0 TFSI supercharged V6 and an optional 1,300-watt Advanced Sound System from Bang & Olufsen has 15 speakers and the Bluetooth car phone online which connects to the Internet, in partnership with Google. The MMI navigation plus has a touchpad allowing the driver to write the digits of telephone numbers and the letters of the navigation destination with a finger or scrolling lists and maps. The driver’s eyes can stay on the road because the system acknowledges every input acoustically.

The Audi A7 five-door coupe features a 204 horsepower 3.0 TDI engine as standard in a body that measures 16.31 ft. long and 6.27 ft. wide, but only 4.66 ft high.  Audi will initially offer the A7 with a choice of four V6 engines: two gasoline and two TDI units ranging in power 204 to 300 horsepower with two different transmissions depending on the engines.
All of the high tech features offered in the A6 will be on the A7 such as the radar-based distance control that accelerates the new A6 and decelerates within certain limits and active lane assist that helps the driver keep the A6 on course at speeds of 37.28 mph and above. The new parking system takes over steering from the driver when parallel parking or parking perpendicular to the road. It detects suitable spaces and automatically guides the A6 into and back out of parallel parking spaces – in several moves, if necessary. Audi also offers conventional parking assistance with and without a reversing camera. At speeds of 18.64 mph and above, Audi side assist system monitors the blind spot areas, as well as fast-approaching vehicles, at a range of about 150 ft. to the rear of the car.

An S line sport package is also available. The A6 won the EyesOn Design Award in Detroit and will  impress everyone who sees it. Two more winners from Audi!

2011 NAIAS: General Motors Debuts Buick Verano & Chevrolet Sonic

General Motors introduced two entry level vehicles in Detroit. The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic and 2012 Buick Verano.

The Chevrolet Sonic will come in a 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback powered by a standard 1.8 liter engine or an optional 138 horsepower 1.4 liter turbo mated to a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Replacing, the Korean Aveo, the Michigan-made Sonic arrives this Fall with 10 airbags.

The all-new 2012 Buick Verano is powered by a 177 horsepower Ecotec 2.4 liter delivering an estimated 31mpg on the highway. A 2.0 liter turbo engine will be offered in the future.

NAIAS: 2011 Chrysler 300, All-New In the Spring Starting at $27,995

The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 and 300 Limited models have a new look and powertrains while preserving that initial startle - "wait, is that a Bentley?" The 300 and 300 Limited have a 292 horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with EPA-ratings of 18 city/27 highway. The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300C (pictured) has a 363 horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine delivering up to 25 highway mpg with Fuel Saver Technology that allows for seamless transition between four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V-8 mode when more power is in demand. When running in four-cylinder fuel saver mode, the engine delivers up to 20 percent improved fuel efficiency.

Uconnect® Touch with an 8.4-inch standard touchscreen radio offers connectivity, Garmin® navigation and SIRIUS Travel Link for real-time weather, fuel prices and more. New active safety features include adaptive-forward lighting, Forward Collision Warning and Blind-spot Monitoring.
The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan arrives in dealerships in Spring 2011, starting at $27,995 (including destination).

NAIAS 2011: Toyota Prius V, C & Plug-In Join The Prius Family

The new Prius v midsize hybrid-electric vehicle and the Prius c Concept vehicle join the Prius midsize liftback which has accounted for more than 955,000 sales in the U.S. since it was introduced in 2000 becoming the third-best selling Toyota passenger car in the U.S. The new Prius v, with "v" for versatility is aimed at families with over 50-percent more interior cargo space than the current Prius - 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats.
Also available is a resin Panoramic View moonroof with power retractable sun shades and Prius v will have the Entune™ multimedia system engaging mobile apps, such as Bing, OpenTable,  and, along with accessing travel-related services, such as live weather, traffic, fuel information (location and price), stocks, news and sports. With an advanced conversational voice recognition system that helps the driver to stay focused on the road, Entune eliminates the need to memorize thousands of voice commands and helps reduce driver distraction.

Prius c Concept, the Small "city"-centric Hybrid Vehicle will come to market in the first half of 2012.

The third addition is the Plug-in to be initially offered in 14 West and East Coast states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Virginia and New Hampshire) where nearly 60 percent of all Prius models are currently sold.  Availability in all remaining states will be a year later. Depending on driving conditions, Prius Plug-in can be driven approximately 13 miles on battery power at speeds up to 60 mph.  Its compact Lithium-ion battery provides less weight and a quicker recharging time, taking three hours on 110 volts and 1.7 hours on 220 volts.  It can be "topped off" anytime with a convenient short charge.

With the success of the Prius hybrid, Toyota is simple expanding the appeal of the brand by catering to more tastes and needs. You might say they are entune with the market.

2011 NAIAS: Kia KV7 Concept Blends Practicality With Flare

Kia Motors’ U.S. design studio unveiled — the “KV7” concept van that has a futuristic blend of curves around a boxy frame which some critics say borrows from the Ford Flex. It has corporate jet lounge-like seating where passengers can face each other to engage in conversation. It reminds me of the station wagon of the future which I saw as a kid at the 1962 Seattle World's fair. The front passenger seat that swivels around is a practical idea that more manufacturers should embrace to make an easy exit from the vehicle for our aging population - turn towards the door and step out rather than kicking your legs to the side. The large gullwing door that swings up to open may present some problems in tight parking spaces.

The KV7 concept is powered by Kia’s new Theta II 2.0-liter GDI turbocharged engine, which is capable of delivering up to 285 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission to deliver V6-type power and performance while achieving better than 30 miles per gallon on the highway. The KV7 concept is my choice for the most radically inspiring concept vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show because it mixes practically and personality into a van, a segment which many moms avoiding because of the stereo-type that goes with them. The KV7, if it becomes reality, could lure the crowd of minivan moms that have opted for SUVs and CUVs back to the van segment.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NAIAS: Honda Civic Concepts To Become Reality In A Few Months

Honda showed off their new 2 and 4 door Civics in Detroit as concepts when, in fact, they'll be in showrooms in a few months. Shortly after the 4 door version was unveiled it was shipped to the Montreal Auto Show because Civic is a top seller in Canada.

That 4 door Civic had an unfinished interior with clay sculpting so it appears to be a concept that will be quickly transformed. Some critics were expecting a more drastic design change in the Civic but if it's not broke it doesn't need to be fixed, maybe just tweaked. Both models looked sleek and ready for personalization by their huge, loyal Civic fan base. Let's see if the production models and pricing details are released by or at the mid-April New York Auto Show.

NAIAS: Hyundai Veloster Shines In Detroit

Hyundai Veloster, the Korean carmaker's new entry level hatchback is anything but jurassic as the name might imply. The Veloster fits with the company's new branding which was unveiled just before the car itself in Detroit. New thinking. New Possibilities. Here's a small hatchback with a 1.6 liter 138 horsepower engine with possible 40mpg fuel economy and an option to mate it to their DSG transmission.

The Veloster looks like a 2-door car from the driver's side that has one larger door but on the passenger side there are two doors for easy access to the back seat behind which there may even be enough room for golf clubs. Hyundai continues to impress and this vehicle could catch on with twenty-somethings or even families with small kids who are on tight budgets demanding fuel economy. With a $17,000 price tag this could be another hit from Hyundai. Watch for it in showrooms this summer.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2012 VW Passat From Tennessee in Mid-August In $20K Range

The all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat made in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is larger (191.7 inches) and will launch in mid-August in the $20,000 price range to boost U.S. sales. The exact price will be announced in March. There are 3 engine options: a 5 cylinder expected to get 31mpg, a diesel at 43mpg and a 6 cylinder at 28mpg. Plans are to produce about a million over the next 7 years. VW's goal is to triple current annual volume to 800,000 by 2018.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

North American International Auto Show Preview - NAIAS - Detroit

Four auto shows in North America have media days for manufacturers to unveil vehicles as World or North American debuts - Los Angeles (November), Detroit (January), Chicago (February) and New York (Easter week which is in mid-April this year). It's usually today, the day before leaving for Detroit, that I get excited with anticipation and this year should produce some surprises.

Porsche, which historically doesn't display in Detroit because they have few buyers in that market, will have a vehicle debut this year to kick off the show at the crack of dawn Monday. Tomorrow night, on the eve of the show Volkswagen will show off their American-made mid-size sedan that will be assemble in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a plant run by longtime Toyota manufacturing boss Don Jackson. Also, somewhat surprising is the fact Nissan and Infiniti are saving a lot of money by not having displays in Detroit.

As already written in Saxton On Cars, we'll have a first-hand look at the 2011 BMW M Coupe, 2012 BMW 1-Series coupe and convertible, 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Buick Verano and 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan. Also expected is the 2012 Audi A6, 2012 Chevrolet Sonic (formerly Aveo), 2012 Ford C-Max (from Europe), 2012 Ford Focus Electric, 2012 Hyundai Velster, 2012 Toyota Prius MPV and 2011 Jeep Compass.

Concepts we're expecting to see include Kia KV7, MINI Paceman, Ford Escape, GMC Sierra All-Terrain HD, 2012 Honda Civic and Hyundai Club. On the high performance side, Chrysler will have the Mopar 300, Ram Runner and Fiat 500 while Cadillac will show off their CTS-V Coupe racecar. Detroit is the home of GM, Ford and Chrysler so there could be some added surprises.

The North American Car and Truck of the Year picks to be announced Monday morning will be significant with so many great vehicles. Ford Focus Electric, Honda Civic, Volkswagen's new mid-size sedan and Mercedes new C-Class have got the gas in my veins flowing as all of them have huge sales potential.

Stay tuned for the latest from Detroit on vehicle debuts and executive comments on the industry.

Friday, January 7, 2011

KPMG's Global Auto Executive Survey - 2010 - Brand & Vehicle Growth

KPMG's 11th Annual Global Auto Executive Survey 2010 forecasts low cost automakers will have the biggest increase in global market share in the next five years taking the top three places (see chart above) while Toyota & Honda will fall in the ratings for first time in 3 years. VW is seen as strongest European OEM with Ford as the strongest U.S. OEM.

Hybrid vehicles will grow the most in all global markets.

Source: KPMG LLP

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 U.S. Auto Sales Rise Sharply For Just About All Manufacturers

General Motors reported 223,932 total sales in December, a 16-percent increase from a year ago for the company’s four brands. For the calendar year, total sales for GM’s four brands increased 21 percent to 2,202,927, while retail sales rose 16 percent for the year.

Ford's December sales (including fleet deliveries) were 190,976, up 7 percent versus a year ago. Ford's full-year sales totaled 1.935 million, up 19 percent versus a year ago.

Toyota Motor Sales reported December sales of 177,488 units, down 5.5 percent compared to the same period last year. For the year, TMS reported annual sales of 1,763,595 vehicles, flat from the same period in 2009, on an unadjusted raw volume basis.

American Honda December new vehicle sales of 129,616 was an increase of 25.5 percent while American Honda’s 2010 annual vehicle sales totaled 1,230,480, an increase of 7.6 percent compared to 2009.

Chrysler Group LLC reported U.S. sales of 100,702, a 16 percent increase compared with December 2009 and for all 2010 Chrysler Group sold 1,085,211 vehicles up 17 percent compared with 2009 sales.

Nissan North America reported record December U.S. sales of 93,730, an increase of 27.7 percent. For 2010, NNA full-year sales were 908,570, up 18 percent from 2009.

Hyundai Motor America December sales of 44,802 units was up 33 percent versus 2009.  For the full year, Hyundai reported 538,228 sales, up 24 percent, an all-time Hyundai sales and market share record for the year.

Kia Motors America reported best-ever December sales of 30,444 units, up 44.6 percent from December 2009 and led to KMA’s 16th consecutive year of increased market share in the U.S. and all-time record sales in 2010 of 356,268, up 18.7 percent over 2009 and a 16.6-percent increase over the annual mark set in 2007. 

Volkswagen of America December 2010  sales of 23,867 was a 17 percent increase over prior year sales. For all, VW 2010 sales were 256,830, a 20 percent increase over 2009 total year sales, the best annual sales since 2003. Audi reported December sales of 10,546, a 16.8 percent increase over 2009. For the full year of 2010, Audi new sales of 101,629 vehicles was up 22.9 percent versus its prior full-year total.

The BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reported December sales of 27,600 vehicles, an increase of 16.9 percent from  the same month a year ago.  For 2010, the BMW Group in the U.S. reported total sales of 265,757 vehicles, up 9.9 percent compared to 2009. 

Subaru of America reported December sales of 26,694, its best-ever  December by a wide margin, exceeding the previous record set in 2009 by 16 percent and full-year results for 2010 were a record 263,820, a 22 percent increase over 2009.

Mazda North American Operations reported December 2010 sales of 21,479, up 17.7 percent versus December 2009 while year-to-date 2010 sales came in at 229,566, up 10.5 percent versus 2009.

Mercedes-Benz USA reported December sales of 21,469 vehicles, a 7.2 percent rise, bringing MBUSA's 2010 total to 225,007, an increase of 18 percent over 2009.

Jaguar Land Rover sold 4,875 vehicles in December 2010 a 1 percent gain from 2009 and for the year sales were 45,204, up 18 percent.

Mitsubishi Motors North America reported December sales of 4,874 units, an increase of almost 12 percent compared to December 2009. Mitsubishi sales for the year were up more than 4 percent.

American Suzuki sold 2,647 vehicles in December up 40 percent from December 2009 and for all 2010 sold 23,994, 38 percent fewer than last year.