Houston-area dealers sold more than 25,000 cars, trucks and SUVs in December. That pushed 2012 vehicle sales to more than 325,000, the highest annual sales volume for the region since 2007.
Wyatt Wainwright is president of the Houston Automobile Dealers Association. He says sales were helped by a rebound in supplies from the disruptions of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. But Wainwright says that's only part of the equation.
"When you have an increase like that, it's a lot more than just inventories returning to normal levels. It's all the great financing, the pent-up demand, all the incredible new models with fuel efficiency improving so dramatically, with all the smart technology. It's just a collection of all of those factors."
Wainwright says the need to replace aging autos should help sales in 2013. The average vehicle on Houston-area roads is now 11 years old.