US consumers buying cars in January -- apart from one brand

Following the lead in Western Europe, US auto sales showed a year-on-year jump in January -- apart from one beleaguered manufacturer.

(Relaxnews) -

Following the lead in Western Europe, US auto sales showed a year-on-year jump in January - apart from one beleaguered manufacturer.

Across the industry, sales rose by 6 percent from January 2009, a decline in trucks dragging down the impressive 15.4 percent growth for passenger cars. General Motors, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai and Volkswagen all reported healthy gains; Volkswagen in particular experienced a sales jump of 41.4 percent.

The news from Toyota, however, was less positive. Sales for the first month of 2010 fell 8.7 percent from January 2009 as the Japanese automaker tried desperately to halt the torrent of bad publicity surrounding its safety record. A study by Kelley Blue Book suggested that more than 20 percent of those who said they were considering a Toyota prior to the recall now say they no longer are considering the brand for their next vehicle purchase.

However, there was some good news from Kelley's study, which surveyed 400 people shopping for new cars. Shoppers seemed confident that Toyota would eventually rebound from the recall crisis, as more than 30 percent of those surveyed said that Toyota "is currently experiencing a challenge, but will offer better products in the future." A further 28 percent said that Toyota has had fewer recalls than other manufacturers, and this recall does not change the fact that they produce great products.

GM, which sold the most vehicles in January, believes that its future is bright as the world emerges from recession.

"Global economic recovery is picking up pace," said Mike DiGiovanni, GM's executive director for global market and industry analysis. "In the U.S., we are seeing a strong rebound in manufacturing and stabilization of consumer confidence, which will support a slow but steady improvement in the vehicle market."

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