Steel Markets

2015 Is Record Year for US Auto Sales

Written by Sandy Williams

Analysts expected U.S. auto sales to approach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18 million units for 2015, but slipping December sales brought the total to 17.47 million, an all-time record according to Autodata Corp.

Commenting on its tally of December sales, Wards Auto wrote, “It speaks volumes for the kind of year 2015 was that December’s 17.2 million SAAR could be characterized as disappointing, with calendar year sales outpacing prior year by 5.8%.”

Auto analysts, including those at TrueCar Inc., expect 2016 to be another banner year for automakers with sales reaching 18 million.

Sales were still strong for most automakers with double digit percentage month over year increases in December. Hyundai sales slipped by 1.5 percent along with BMW Group whose sales fell 17.7 percent. Beleaguered Volkswagen sales dropped 9.11 percent in December adding to a 2015 year decline of 4.78 percent for the company.

FCA US sales led the Big Three, up 13 percent in December and 7 percent for the full year. GM and Ford were each up 5 percent compared to annual sales for 2014.

“The U.S. economy continues to expand and the most important factors that drive demand for new vehicles are in place, so we expect to see a second consecutive year of record industry sales in 2016,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist. “The single most important pieces are the ongoing gains in employment and the growth in personal income. When you add in lower energy prices, it’s easy to see why consumer spending is strong.”

Smaller volume Mazda had its best annual sales in 20 years and Mercedes-Benz, with annual sales of 38,918, reported its highest annual volume in its U.S. history.

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