NORMAN — The nation’s auto industry had reason to celebrate this past week. Final sales figures on new cars and trucks were released, showing a 13 percent gain in 2012 over 2011.
Americans finally replaced their aging rolling stock. Unlike some other large purchases, cars and trucks eventually must be replaced. That’s good news for an industry rocked by the recession.
The positive numbers and an even brighter forecast for this year comes three years after the federal government bailed out the industry to the tune of $62 billion.
It was the industry’s best performance in five years. December was the industry’s strongest month, with 15.4 million vehicles sold. Big winners were Volkswagen, up 35 percent, Toyota, up 27 percent, and Honda, up 24 percent. Among domestic automakers, Chrysler sales were up 21 percent for the year. Ford was up 4 percent and GM up 3.7 percent.