Auto News for Jan 6
(refiling – Jan 7 news below)
For virtually all of the automakers it was the kind of year that the bean counters dream about with December doing its best to buff up the bottom line. It was the best year since 2006 and some are predicting the news will only get better this year.
(Pictured is the Toyota Camry that remains the nation’s top selling car.)
As for the Detroit three, Fiat Chrysler was the biggest gainer last month with sales remaining strong for its Ram Truck and Jeep brand, enough to lift overall sales by 20 percent. For the full year FCA said sales were up 16 percent, its best showing since 2006.
Not far behind was General Motors that posted a 19.3 percent sales increase for December its best showing for the month in seven years. It said Chevrolet was strong from pickups and SUV’s to cars and crossovers and the Corvette Stingray had its highest December sales ever. GM’s chief economist predicted even higher industry sales this year.
Despite low inventories due to the changeover to the 2015 model, Ford said its F-Series truck remained the best-selling vehicle in all the land for the 33rd straight year. With the new truck just now rolling into dealers, Ford sales rose only one percent in December. Demand was strong for the Escape and the Fusion and Mustang posted its best December sales since 2006.
It was another big month for Subaru with overall sales up 21 percent, and that was the biggest percentage gain among all auto makers. Demand was strong for the Legacy, Forester, WRX, Outback and XV Crosstrek. Suby has now set sales records in each of the last six years.
But not every automaker enjoyed success last year. Sales were off 10 percent at Volkswagen and down 15.6 percent for Mini.
On the brighter side, Toyota said sales rose 12.7 percent last month and 6.2 percent for the full year. Its Camry remained the best- selling car in America for the 13th straight year.
Honda reported a one percent sales gain for the year, and 1.4 percent in December. Acura did its part with a 13.6 percent monthly sales increase and the company’s CR-V remained the top selling small sport utility.
Analysts said people feel good about the economy, and constantly falling gasoline prices, the report coming out on a day when crude prices dropped below $50 a barrel for the first time in more than 5 years.
Elsewhere, sales rose nearly 7 percent last month at Nissan; Hyundai reported a 2 percent increase, while Kia bragged about a 35.6 percent surge from December a year ago. It said demand was driven by the Optima and Soul models.
It was also a good month at BMW Group with sales up 9.5 percent overall thanks to demand for the 3 and 4 series and the X5.
Calendar year sales rose 7.7 percent at Mazda, its best result since 1994. December sales were also strong up 9 percent and the company’s best December since 2014. The CX-5 recorded its best ever sales year, and of course, just over the horizon is the new MX-5 Miata.
Mitsubishi said 2014 sales rose nearly 25 percent while December marked the tenth consecutive month of year over year sales increases driven by the Outlander Sport.
In the luxury car race, Audi, Lincoln, and Mercedes registered sales increases last month, but Cadillac sales fell 11 percent.