Automakers back up their sales bluster -- and we're eating crow
Back in February, we may have sounded a bit disbelieving -- perhaps even a tad smart-alecky -- when we toted up the optimistic 2012 sales forecasts of 15 automakers.
The consensus among analysts at the time was that industrywide sales would be 13.6 million to13.8 million this year, up from 12.8 million in 2011. But the combined internal targets of those 15 automakers came to 14.3 million, and that didn't count all the small brands, which add about 100,000 sales. To us, their enthusiasm sounded like "irrational exuberance."
But it's time to eat a little crow.
When the December figures are counted, we now project that those 15 automakers will finish at about 14.2 million units. With just a month to go, nine of the 15 look like they will match or surpass their 2012 sales targets, and most of the others will be in the ballpark.
Volkswagen Group already has shot past its target of 500,000 -- 553,206 through November -- and Toyota Motor Sales has nearly achieved its 12-month goal of 1.9 million units in 11 months.
The carmaker falling short of its target by the widest margin? General Motors, which projected sales of 2,823,200. We figure GM will end up at about 2,564,000.