January was a wacky month.
First of all, sales of 1,090,784 were only 1.9 percent (20,807 units) below last year's. So much for the doomsayers who make their livings predicting that the industry's bubble (a) has burst or (b) is about to burst.
But even wackier, cars outsold trucks - and it wasn't even close. The month's tally was 563,069 cars and 527,715 trucks.
Wackier still, truck sales trailed the year-ago total.
No, the truck boom hasn't ended; and, no, the nation's new-vehicle buyers haven't done a sudden about-face from trucks to cars. Much of January's turnaround stemmed from General Motors' return to earth after a dizzying pace in December, when it was trying (successfully) to improve its market share two years in a row.
GM sold only half as many trucks in January as it did in December. Truck sales for Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler group also were down, but not nearly as much.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate for January was 16.2 million, but any forecaster who bases a full-year prediction on a one-month SAAR should consider some other line of work. It's simply too early to make a meaningful guess.