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Jump Analysis: 
Sixth Yearly Advance in Auto Sales, Chrysler Nears Toyota and Ford
Author: Mukesh Buch
Last Update: 8:59 AM ET January 09 2016

6:00 PM New York – U.S. auto sales record best December month sales and sales in 2015 rose for the sixth year in a row. Lower gasoline prices and improving employment picture stoked sales of trucks and utility vehicles for the third year in a row. Chrysler and Ford sales near General Motors.

Seasonally adjusted monthly auto sales jumped to a new December month record and surpassed the previous record set in 2000. Sales rose for the sixth consecutive years in a row.

December annual sales rate jumped 5.7% to 17.47 million vehicles and surpassed the previous December month record set in 2000 of 17.35 million.

Lower gas prices, improved employment outlook and low interest rates spurred buyers’ in purchasing new vehicles. In addition, cheap gasoline price near $2 per gallon nationwide supported demand for higher-margin pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

The automotive data provider Kelley Blue Book and data provider TrueCar Inc said average transaction price in the month increased to $34,428 and average incentive spending across all auto makers rose to $3,063 per vehicle in 2015 from $2,809 a year earlier.

Total light vehicle sales in December soared 9% to 1,643,289 from 1,507,339 in the month a year ago.

In December, sale of passenger cars fell 3.2% to 656,261 from 678,154 while light truck sales surged 19% to 987,028 from 829,185 in the month a year ago.

Seasonally adjusted annual sales rate in December dropped to 17.34 million from 18.19 million in November but increased from 16.92 million in a year ago month, according to the data released by the industry researcher Autodata Corp based in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Three of the five largest automakers reported double digit sales increase in December but Volkswagen sales slumped 3.4%.

In the month, Nissan sales surged 18.7%, Fiat Chrysler sales soared 12.6%. Sales at Toyota jumped 10.8%, Ford sales advanced 8.3% and sales at General Motors increased 5.7%.

For the year so far, Fiat Chrysler sales climbed 7.3%, Nissan sales soared 7.1%, Ford and Toyota each sales jumped 5.3% and General Motors sales increased 5%.

Kia sales surged 19%, sales soared 20.5% at Mitsubishi while Mazda sales jumped 18.1%. Subaru sales in December increased 12.7%.

In 2015, Kia sales advanced 7.9% but sales jumped 22.8% at Mitsubishi and Mazda sales rose 4.4% while Subaru sales in the year soared 13.4%. research team estimated 2016 vehicle sales at 18 million.

Chrysler Inches Closer to Ford, GM Sales Cross 3 Million

General Motors (GM) sales increased 5.7% to 290,230 units from 274,483. Sales of light vehicles surged 14.3% to 215,831 from 188,891 while passenger car sales plunged 13.1% to 74,399 from 85,592.

In the year so far, sales jumped 5% to 3,082,366 from 2,935,008.

Ford Motor Company (F) said sales in September soared 8.3% to 237,606 units from 219,369 vehicles a year ago. Truck sales in the month advanced 13.1% to 179,617 from 158,812.

Sales of passenger cars slipped 4.2% to 57,989 units from 60,557 a year ago month.

In December, sales of Fusion soared 10.4% to 25,576 units compared to 23,166 units a year ago. Focus sales tumbled 26.1% to 11,005 units and Mustang sales dropped 8.1% to 8,742 units from 9,511 units. F-Series truck sales in the month jumped 14.6% to 85,211.

Sales of utilities surged 13.6% to 72,857 units compared to a year ago month.

Escape sales in the month increased 9.2% to 27,954 vehicles while Edge sales soared 29.3% to 10,263 vehicles. Ford brand sales jumped 8.2% to 228,382 vehicles and Lincoln sales surged 12.1% to 10,860 units.

Total sales in the year increased 5.3% to 2,603,082 vehicles.

Fiat Chrysler LLC sales in the month soared 13% to 217,527 units from 193,261 vehicles and rose for the 69th month in a row.

Total car sales in the month tumbled 20.7% to 35,581 units while truck sales surged 22.6% to 181,946 units from a year ago period. Jeep Brand sales advanced 42% to 89,654 units while RAM pickup sales fell 2% to 43,135 units.

Chrysler brand sales plunged 21% to 24,292 units but Dodge brand sales jumped 6% to 49,256 units.

In the year so far, sales rose 7% to 2,243,907 units from 2,090,639 units.

Nissan Retains Momentum

Toyota Motor sales in December jumped 10.8% to 238,350 units from 215,057 units in the same period a year earlier.

Passenger car sales increased 8% to 116,878 from 108,217 units and light trucks gained 13.7% to 121,472 units from 106,840 units in the same period a year ago.

Total sales in 2015, advanced 5.3% to 2.50 million.

Honda sales in December soared 9.9% to 150,893 units from 137,281 units a year ago period.

Passenger car sales soared 11.8% to 78,016 units from 69,802 units and sales of the light trucks added 8% to 72,877 units compared to 67,479 units a year ago month.

Acura sales dropped 5.5% to 16,823 units while sales of Accord jumped 11% to 35,056 units.

In the year, sales increased 3% to 1,586,551 units from 1,540,872 units.

Nissan Motor Company vehicles sales in December surged 18.7% to 139,300 from 117,318 vehicles in the same month a year ago. Passenger car sales in the month fell 6.6% while sales of light trucks soared 18.7% from a year ago month.

Year-to-date sales jumped 7.1% to 1,484,918 from 1,386,895 vehicles.

Mitsubishi Motors vehicles sales soared 20.5% to 7,887 units compared to 6,545 units in the month of last year. In the year, total sales advanced 22.8% to 95,342 units from 77,643 units.

Sales for Mazda jumped 18.1% to 29,294 units compared to 24,808 units in December 2014 and in the year so far, total sales increased 4.4% to 3.20 million compared to 3.05 million.

Subaru of America Inc sales in the month jumped 12.7% to 56,274 vehicles from 49,923 vehicles a year ago period. Year-to-date sales surged 13.4% to 582,675 vehicles from 513,693 vehicles.

In the month, sales of automobiles increased 7.2% to 31,387 vehicles compared to 29,269 and sales of the light trucks soared 20.5% to 24,887 vehicles from 20,654 vehicles a year ago period.

Hyundai Motor America sales fell 1.5% to 63,508 units from 64,507 units. Sales of light vehicles surged 32% to 17,829 units from 13,509 units and automobiles sales plunged 10.4% to 45,679 units.

Kia Motors America sales in the month advanced 19% to 54,241 vehicles from a year ago month.

Auto sales in December soared 11.5% while sales of light trucks surged 32.8% from in the same month a year ago.

Mercedes Lags BMW Sales

Volkswagen Group of America Inc sales in December declined 3.4% to 52,015 units from 53,837 units a year ago period.

Audi sales jumped 6% to 20,399; Volkswagen brand sales slumped 9.1% to 30,956 units while Bentley sales soared 41% to 581 units. Lamborghini sales tumbled 38.8% to 79 units.

In the fiscal 2015, Volkswagen Group sales rose 0.5% to 555,337.

Mercedes-Benz USA unit sales in December added 2.6% to 38,249 vehicles from a year ago month.

Maybach did not sell a single vehicle in the month and sales of the Smart branded vehicles dropped 31.2% to 669 vehicles from 973 vehicles a year ago period.

In 2015, Mercedes Benz total sales increased 3.8% to 380,461.

BMW of North America Inc sales in December plunged 17.6% to 39,699 units compared to 48,202 units in the same month a year ago.

Rolls Royce sales rose 6.6% to 65 units from a year ago and Mini sales declined 24.3% to 5,009 units.
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Sources: Data collected by and from company press releases, filings and corporate websites.
Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc.

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