Sales rose for almost all automakers, with the industrywide percentage gain expected to end the year in the low to mid double digits. The growth rate of the auto industry far outpaced that of the overall economy in the United States, with the automotive sector doing its best to pull the rest of the economy out of its doldrums.
Most remarkable, though, is that it was profitable growth — for almost everyone. Automakers, suppliers, dealers — as well as the vendors that supply all three — were in the black, something that hasn’t happened in, oh, roughly a quarter century.
A few of the smallest brands missed out on the party, and Japanese automakers’ profits were hurt by an unfavorable dollar-yen exchange rate. But compared with Europe’s woes and the auto industry’s trials in China, North America was the place to be.