Significant year-over-year sales increases were expected in January 2012, and sales releases did not disappoint. Early results had Chrysler Group LLC reporting its 22nd consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Hyundai sales were up 15%. All four General Motors brands were down in January, and Lincoln also failed to put up respectable numbers, but Ford improved 8%.

As the numbers continued to pour in, the picture became clearer. Kia did its usual thing, a 28% increase is nothing to sneeze at. But Kia wasn’t the industry pacesetter in January. Mazda sales jumped 68%m Volkswagen jumped 48%, Jeep climbed 37%, and Chrysler – yes, that Chrysler, the one with three models – posted an 81% boost over January 2011 numbers.

Niche brands like Bentley, Maserati, smart, and Land Rover also reported huge gains. By units, these amount to very little difference when the industry is viewed as a whole. But the Chrysler Group’s 31,031 extra sales, only 1911 of which can be attributed to the Fiat 500 which wasn’t on sale in America last January, played a huge role. The Ford Motor Company 9313 extra sales nearly undid the damage done by GM’s fall, a 10,935-unit fall. 

The 11.4% improvement in the auto industry in January 2012 is notable for more than what it did for Kia, Chrysler, and Volkswagen salesmen. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate climbed to 14.2 million. That’s nothing compared with 2002’s 16.8 million sales, but it’s some way better than 2011’s 12.8 million and a huge improvement on 2009’s 10.4 million.

The news gets better. We also found out that automakers made more money on each and every automobile they sold in January. Barclays Capital said that incentives on GM vehicles dropped 21% from January 2011 along with a drop of 10% at Chrysler and 17% at Toyota.

Stick with GoodCarBadCar.net throughout the day for best seller lists, then follow along throughout the month for segment by segment breakdowns. You can always find detailed sales figures for any model on sale in North America by accessing the dropdown menu at the top right of this page.

Updated 02.01.2012 @ 3:51 PM AST

Rank
Automaker
January 2012

Change
#1
Ford
131,173
+ 8.3%
#2
Chevrolet
123,864
– 1.2%
#3
Toyota
108,371
+ 8.7%
#4
Honda
74,628
+ 9.3%
#5
Nissan
72,517
+ 12.5%
#6
Hyundai
42,694
+ 14.7%
#7
Kia
35,517
+ 27.8%
#8
Jeep
31,710
+ 37.4%
#9
Dodge
31,454
+ 29.4%
#10
Volkswagen
27,209
+ 47.9%
#11
GMC
24,966
– 9.7%
#12
Mazda
23,996
+ 68.2%
#13
Subaru
22,807
+ 20.9%
#14
Mercedes-Benz
21,230
+ 22.9%
#15
Ram
18,470
+ 41.9%
#16
BMW
16,405
+ 3.1%
#17
Chrysler
17,604
+ 81.4%
#18
Lexus
12,274
– 4.6%
#19
Buick
10,208
– 23.1%
#20
Audi
9354
+ 19.7%
#21
Cadillac
8924
– 29.1%
#22
Acura
8381
+ 5.3%
#23
Infiniti
6796
– 8.2%
#24
Lincoln
5121
– 7.9%
#25
Mitsubishi
4711
– 17.6%
#26
Volvo
4461
+ 4.3%
#27
Scion
3535
+ 7.9%
#28
Mini
3334
+ 21.2%
#29
Land Rover
3205
+ 41.1%
#30
Porsche
2550
+ 6.3%
#31
Fiat
1911
—–
#32
Suzuki
1505
– 41.3%
#33
Jaguar
985
+ 5.3%
#34
smart
496
+ 38.5%
#35
Maserati
154
+ 35.1%
#36
Bentley
118
+ 43.9%
#37
Saab
—–
– 100%

Source: Automakers & Automotive News Data Center
Red font indicates declining year-over-year sales, bold indicates a so-called premium brand
GCBC now lists Ram separately from Dodge, as Chrysler does. 
Combined, Dodge/Ram sld 49,924 vehicles, enough to rank sixth.

Related From GoodCarBadCar.net
U.S. Auto Sales Brand Rankings – January 2013
U.S. Auto Sales By Brand – February 2012
U.S. Auto Sales By Brand – 2011 Year End
U.S. Auto Sales By Brand – December 2011
U.S. Auto Sales By Brand – January 2011
U.S. Auto Brand Market Share – January 2012