NEW YORK (AFP) – US automakers reported strong December domestic sales Monday to cap off a solid year of growth, with consumers still readily buying cars and trucks despite a record year of recalls.
Analysts estimate the December surge took the total 2014 US market to more than 16.5 million vehicles, giving the industry its best year since 2006, just before the economy began sinking into crisis and recession.
GM reported that it had the best December in seven years, with a 19 per cent year-on-year rise in US unit sales. That brought the top US automaker’s total for 2014 to 2.94 million vehicles, a 5.3 per cent rise.
FCA US, the new name of the US arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said its December turnover came in 20 per cent above the previous year and marked a 10-year high. That pushed the full-year 2014 sales of what used to be Chrysler to 2.09 million, a 16 per cent rise from 2013.
But Ford, which continues to gear up for full production of its new all-aluminium F-150 pickup truck, said its best December in nine years meant only a one per cent gain from the year-ago month, and left sales for the entire year flat at 2.48 million vehicles.
Japan’s Honda and Toyota, both of which produce most of their US-sold vehicles in the United States, also turned in big December figures. Toyota sold 2.37 million cars last year, 6.2 per cent over 2013, while Honda racked up a record 1.54 million units for the year, a one per cent rise.
The December numbers came in better than analysts had predicted, and provided new evidence that the economy continued to grow strongly through the end of the year.