Tesla workers cheer on one the first Tesla Model S cars sold during a rally at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. (Paul Sakuma/AP)
- Apr 25:
- Survey: Americans felt more secure in jobs in 2012
- Apr 5:
- Obama proposes cuts to Social Security and other benefit programs
- Mar 3:
- Spending cuts reach deficit-cutting goal, but at a price
- Feb 13:
- Obama minimum wage plan renews economic debate
- Feb 1:
- Report: US job market looks surprisingly strong
- Jan 26:
- Outgoing Timothy Geithner believes U.S. economy gaining strength
- Jan 18:
- Colorado's unemployment dips to 7.6%, but state loses 2,400 jobs
- Jan 3:
- New tax law packed with breaks for businesses
- Jan 2:
- EEUU evita abismo fiscal pero no futuras tormenta
- Jan 1:
- Logran acuerdo para evitar precipicio fiscal
- Dec 29:
- Aumenta el salario mínimo por hora en Colorado
- Dec 28:
- EEUU, al borde del precipicio fiscal
- Dec 17:
- Muchos pagarían más impuestos en declaración
- EEUU y la UE consideran pacto comercial
- Dec 11:
- Strong job market in Denver metro area expected in 1st quarter of 2013
- Dec 2:
- Suben compras por internet en EEUU
- Nov 30:
- Fiscal cliff: Colorado stands to lose $2.1 billion without a deal
- Sep 20:
- Decline in Colorado household income slowing, census shows
- Sep 3:
- Consejos de la Secretaria de Labor Hilda L. Solis para el Día de Trabajo
- Labor Day tips from the U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis
- Aug 31:
- Crecen abusos financieros contra personas mayores
- Aug 10:
- Predicen oportunidades laborales para hispanos de EEUU
- Aug 8:
- Colorado cities say local economies improving
- Jul 11:
- Datos mediocres del empleo fijan tono en contienda presidencial
- Minimal impact of jobs reports highlights some electoral realities
- Jun 20:
- Colorado could be facing a new wave of foreclosures
- Jun 18:
- Parties are worlds apart on how to fix economy
- Jun 12:
- More than seven in 10 U.S. teens jobless in summer
- Jun 4:
- Empresas de EEUU prefieren esperar antes de contratar más
- Jun 3:
- Obama: Congreso debe tomar medidas sobre empleo
- May 21:
- Gasoline prices dip slightly in Denver
- May 15:
- Comienza a regir el tratado de libre comercio entre Estados Unidos y Colombia
- Apr 23:
- Aging workforce strains Social Security, Medicare
- Apr 19:
- Bajan ligeramente solicitudes de ayuda por desempleo en EEUU
- Apr 12:
- Recuperación económica en EEUU no se refleja entre hispanos
- Apr 10:
- Report: Denver metro area leads nation in adding construction jobs
- Mar 29:
- U.S. jobless claims fall to lowest level in 4 years
- Mar 28:
- As Colorado jobs start to come back, searchers' skills need work
- Mar 20:
- Mejora panorama de la construcción: aumentan pedidos de permisos
- Mar 19:
- Colorado budget projection shows $26 million increase in revenue this year
- Mar 12:
- Wall Street cierra mixto y confuso
- Mar 10:
- Obama: "Estados Unidos regresa"
- Mar 9:
- Obama: New jobs report a sign economy on rebound
- Mar 7:
- Senador federal y empresaria hispana impulsan trabajos para latinos
- Feb 6:
- Obama dice que merece la reelección: no ha terminado su trabajo
- Feb 3:
- Baja del desempleo impulsa precios de acciones
- Jan 31:
- Study: One in four Coloradans have almost no savings
- Jan 30:
- Suben los ingresos un 0,5% en EEUU, pero no el gasto del consumidor
- Jan 27:
- Economía crece 2,8% en cuarto trimestre en EEUU
- Jan 25:
- La Fed no encarecerá tasas de interés antes de fines de 2014
- Jan 9:
- Esperanzas de empleo mejoran para grupos más afectados en EEUU
- Jan 6:
- Nation adds 200,000 jobs in December hiring surge
- Jan 3:
- Fed to regularly forecast interest-rate changes
- La Fed dice que pronosticará regularmente los cambios de tasas
- Dec 31:
- Economistas: Políticas de Obama son "regulares" o "malas"
- Dec 27:
- Obama nominates 2 to Federal Reserve Board
- Dec 21:
- Bank of America agrees to record $335 million fair lending settlement
- Dec 19:
- Congress moves toward standoff over payroll tax
- US stocks drop; Citi and other big banks fall hard
- Dec 16:
- Encuesta AP: Más de la mitad dice que Obama merece perder
- Dec 13:
- Republicans muscle tax cut bill through House
- Wall Street en alza por buenas noticias en Europa
- Tapped-out Santas wrapping up shopping earlier this year as money tight, U.S. survey finds
- Dec 12:
- La Fed afina plan para revelar en qué dirección irán las tasas
- Dec 10:
- Public retirement ages come under greater scrutiny
- Dec 9:
- House GOP introduces bill renewing payroll tax cut
- Dec 6:
- Colorado is expected to create more jobs than the rest of the nation, economic analysts assert
- Postal cutbacks to delay 1st-class mail
- Dec 5:
- Obama makes case for extending payroll tax cuts
- Dec 3:
- Senador: Brasil debería ser primer socio comercial de EEUU
- Leaders at Americas talks: world economy top worry
- Nov 30:
- American: Una mancha en una historia distinguida
- Nov 29:
- U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis discusses jobs package with Denver Latinos
- Americans in November more confident about economy
- Nov 22:
- Debt panel's demise sets up partisan wrangling
- Nov 21:
- What next? Lawmakers look to undo the back-up plan
- Nov 18:
- US House rejects balanced budget proposal
- Nov 13:
- Obama signs Asia-Pacific business travel bill
- Nov 9:
- Obama signs order to cut travel, cellphones, swag
- Nov 7:
- Under Colorado program, companies said they were owed $75M in tax credits, but created only 564 jobs
- Nov 4:
- Obama: World economic recovery on 'firmer footing'
- Oct 24:
- Obama offers mortgage relief on Western trip
- Oct 21:
- Fuerte alza en Wall Street por ganancias corporativas
- Oct 14:
- Stocks rise on gain in retail sales; Google jumps
- Oct 12:
- Congress poised to OK stalled free trade deals
- Lawmakers, White House regroup on jobs
- Oct 11:
- GOP senators vote to defeat Obama's jobs bill
- Oct 10:
- NYPD costs rise as Wall Street protests continue
- Unemployed seek protection against job bias
- Congress takes up China, free trade, jobs bills
- Bank loyalty fading on fees as customers take accounts elsewhere
- Oct 6:
- Obama to GOP: Act on jobs or get run out of town
- Obama challenges GOP senators: Vote for jobs bill
- Sep 28:
- Congress dodges one crisis, now on to the next
- Sep 26:
- Obama sells jobs plan in Silicon Valley
- Sep 22:
- Census: Recession takes big toll on young adults
- Sep 19:
- Colorado offers 45-day tax amnesty window
- US home builder outlook worsens in September
- Labor Department expands enforcement of wage violations
- Sep 16:
- Stocks climb for solid weekly gains
- Sep 8:
- Cut taxes, Obama tells Congress in $450B jobs plan
- Sep 6:
- Working-age adults make up record share of US poor
- Sep 5:
- Obama says GOP must back US first, create jobs
- Aug 5:
- Mercados mundiales en baja a pesar de informe positivo de EEUU
- Stocks turn lower as optimism about jobs fades
DETROIT - A steadily improving economy and strong December sales lifted the American auto industry to its best performance in five years in 2012, especially for Volkswagen and Japanese-brand vehicles, and experts say the next year should be even better.
Carmakers on Thursday announced their final figures, which totaled 14.5 million - 13 percent better than 2011.
More than three years after the federal government's $62 billion auto-industry bailout, Americans had plenty of incentive to buy new cars and trucks in the year just ended.
Unemployment eased. Home sales and prices rose. And the average age of a car topped 11 years in the U.S., a record that spurred people to trade in old vehicles. Banks made that easier by offering low interest rates and greater access to loans, even for buyers with lousy credit.
"The U.S. light vehicle sales market continues to be a bright spot in the tremulous global environment," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive, a Detroit-area industry forecasting firm.
Sales were far better than the bleak days after the U.S. economy tanked and GM and Chrysler sought bankruptcy protection. Back then, sales fell to a 30-year low of 10.4 million, and they are still far short of the recent peak of around 17 million set in 2005.
The best part of 2012 came at the end, when special deals on pickup trucks and the usual round of sparkling holiday ads helped December sales jump 9 percent to more than 1.3 million, according to Autodata Corp. That translates to an annual rate of 15.4 million, making December the strongest month of the year.
Volkswagen led all major automakers with sales up a staggering 35 percent, led by the redesigned Passat midsize sedan. VW sold more than five times as many Passats last year as it did in 2011.
Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends for TrueCar, said VW has the right mix of value and attractive vehicles and called the company "the force to watch in the next several years in the U.S. market."
Toyota, which has recovered from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that crimped its factories two years ago, saw sales jump 27 percent for 2012. December sales were up 9 percent. Unlike 2011, the company had plenty of new cars on dealer lots for most of last year.
Honda sales rose 24 percent for the year. Nissan and Infiniti sales were up nearly 10 percent as the Nissan brand topped 1 million in annual sales for the first time. Hyundai sales rose 9 percent for the year to just over 703,000, the Korean automaker's best year in the U.S.
Chrysler, the smallest of the Detroit carmakers, had the best year among U.S. companies. Its sales jumped 21 percent for the year and 10 percent in December. Demand was led by the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, Ram pickup and Chrysler 300 luxury sedan.
But full-year sales at Ford and General Motors lagged. Ford edged up 5 percent and GM rose only 3.7 percent for the year. For December, Ford was up 2 percent and GM up 5 percent.
GM executives said the company has the oldest model lineup in the industry, yet it still posted a sales increase and commanded high prices for cars and trucks. The company plans to refurbish 70 percent of its North American models in the next 18 months and expects to boost sales this year.
North American President Mark Reuss said the company won't give away cars and trucks with discounts like it has in the past, especially in the midst of its biggest product update ever.
"Give us 18 months and you're going to see the whole portfolio turned," Reuss said.
Even though the congressional deal to avoid the fiscal cliff deal raised tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, Ford said it doesn't see a huge impact on auto sales.
Its chief economist, Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, said only 2 percent of new-vehicle buyers have income in that upper tax bracket, and they tend to purchase even if there is a change in after-tax income.
She said Ford is more concerned about an increase in the payroll tax, which is scheduled to climb to 6.2 percent this year from 4.2 percent in 2011 and 2012. That amounts to a $1,000 to $1,500 tax increase per household, she said.
"We will look at that closely because it will crimp spending in the months ahead," she said.
December featured year-end deals on GM's big pickup trucks. The company offered discounts up to $9,000 to help clear growing inventory, and it worked. GM cut its full-size pickup supply by more than 20,000 in December to about 222,000.
Overall, though, analysts said the industry eased up on promotions such as rebates and low-interest financing. Car and truck buyers paid an average of $31,228 per vehicle last month, up 1.8 percent from December 2011.
The Polk auto research firm predicted even stronger U.S. sales for 2013, forecasting 15.3 million vehicle sales as the economy continues to improve. Polk, based in Southfield, Mich., expects 43 new models to be introduced, up 50 percent from last year. New models usually boost sales.
The firm also predicts a rebound in sales of large pickups and midsize cars. All eight of the top manufacturers are introducing new vehicles, and that should bring competition and lower prices in those segments, according to Tom Libby, lead North American analyst for Polk.
But the firm's optimistic forecasts hinge on Washington reaching an agreement on government debt limits and spending cuts.