Vehicle sales in the U.S are currently on pace for their best year since 2007, reports Bloomberg, and automakers are currently boosting their production capabilities in order to meet pent-up consumer demand.
According to Bloomberg, analysts have revised their initial estimates of 13.6 million vehicles sold upward to 14.3 million following a 10.3% increase in first quarter sales over last year. If the pace is maintained throughout 2012, the auto industry will have its best year since 2007, when 16.1 million vehicles were sold.
The reasons behind the increase in sales? Pent-up demand due to a stall in car sales during the worst parts of the recession, an economy on the up-tick, and loosening credit. With sales continuing to climb across the board, automakers are taking steps in order to meet demand. Some are skipping summer shutdowns, cutting workers’ vacation, and adding capacity to plants across North America.
Following bumper sales in April, Chrysler decided to skip the usual summer shutdown of its Illinois, Detroit, Ohio, and Mexico plants. Chrysler is also shortening the shutdown at two other plants from two weeks to one and is looking to add a third crew and 1100 jobs at its Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit to meet demand for the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Ford will also be shortening the shutdowns at 13 factories to just one week and will be adding a third shift at factories in Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky, boosting production capacity by 400,000 vehicles.
The auto sales boon hasn’t helped only domestic automakers. Foreign automakers are cashing in too. Honda has added overtime production at its East Liberty, Ohio factory to meet demand for the all-new 2012 CR-V. As we reported to you earlier this week, Toyota has also increased its production capability, boosting output at factories in Indiana, Kentucky, Ontario, and West Virginia.