Following the path set out earlier by Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) and Chrysler Group, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) posted double-digit sales gains in January. Ford sales were up 22% and Chrysler sales were up 16%, a total matched by GM and surpassed by Toyota, which posted a January sales gain of 27%.
GM said it sold 194,699 vehicles in the United States last month, with Cadillac posting its highest January sales in 23 years, with a total of 13,116, only slightly behind total Buick model sales of 13,463.
The not-so-good news from GM is that inventory of its full-size pickups has grown to a 117-day supply from just 80 days a month ago. The company is preparing to roll out new pickup trucks next quarter and managing inventory leading up the new introductions is tricky.
Toyota’s sales totaled 157,725 in the United States in January, up 27% year-over-year. Earlier this week Toyota reported 2012 global sales of 9.75 million vehicles, a company record and enough for Toyota to pass GM as the world’s best-selling carmaker.
The sales report from Volkswagen is less enthusiastic. The German automaker reported January U.S. sales grew by just 7%, after rising 31% in all of 2012. Still, January sales were the highest for Volkswagen since 1974.
While typically a slow month for auto sales, January is off to a roaring start this year, which makes the projected U.S. car sales of 15.5 million seem within reach.