General Motors believes the U.S. auto industry set a record last year moving 17.5 million units, a new calendar year sales record.
As for the company itself, sales were up 10 percent in December and that topped analyst estimates, something the shareholders should be happy about. For the year, the General sold more than 3 million vehicles but that was off a fraction from the 2015 total. December’s hot sellers were Chevrolet and GMC.
Ford posted fractional gains for December and a 0.1 percent increase for all of last year. The big winner was a rebounding Lincoln brand where sales rose a not insignificant 17.8 percent last month, helped, most likely, by the new Continental.
A less than rosy picture at Fiat Chrysler where December sales were down 10 percent and flat for all of 2016. Ram trucks posted a 10 percent gain last month. While four Jeep brands posted December sales increases, overall Jeep sales were down 6 percent. Alfa sold a total of 23 4C sports cars last month and only 480 for the year. Fiat sales were off 54 percent in December and 24 percent for all of last year.
Toyota reported a 2 percent increase in December sales but a 2 percent decline in 2015. At year’s end, the company reported record sales of the RAV4, and Highlander. It said the Camry remained the best- selling passenger car for the 15th consecutive year. Lexus sales were off fractionally last month and off 3.2 percent for the year.
Maybe blockbuster movie tie-ins work! Nissan said for the first time, the Rogue was its best seller with sales up nearly 15 percent last year. The company said overall December sales rose 9.7 percent and were up 5.4 percent for all of last year. In December, with Rogue One setting records at the box office, the Rogue on wheels saw sales increase 52.9 percent. Infiniti sales rose 3.6 percent for the year. If I am Nissan group, I can hardly wait for the movie sequel.
At Volkswagen, 20.3 percent more vehicles left dealer lots in December, but full year sales fell 7.6 percent. December sales winners were the Tiguan and Golf brands.