U.S. auto sales break record in 2015


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Pop the champagne corks and cue the band: The U.S. auto industry set a sales record in 2015 with the big boys posting solid December sales gains (up 8.9 percent compared to last year). The final 2015 tally came in at 17,470,659, breaking 2000’s record 17,402,486 sales — 5.7 percent higher than last year.

Land Rover rocked 2015 with a 37.1 percent increase, mostly because it introduced a new model: the Discovery Sport – Land Rover sold 7,611 of those. That other global off-roading legend, Jeep, was hot on Land Rover’s tail with a nearly 25 percent gain. Like Land Rover, Jeep introduced a new model: the Renegade. Jeep sold moved 60,946 of the cute little buggers. So yeah, new models helped, especially where there were none before. Gotta give both Jeep and Land Rover credit, though: Every model in both automakers’ arsenal posted sales gains last year. 

Photo: 2016 Volvo XC90

2016 Volvo XC90 Photo by Volvo

Volvo rounded out the top-three gainers, with the new XC90 helping immensely, up a whopping 223.3 percent over the outgoing model.

Clearly trucks, SUVs and crossovers are still the hottest sellers, helping Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota finish 2015 in that order. Ford’s sales all-stars included the new F-150, Chevrolet’s was the Silverado, and Toyota’s best-seller was the new Tacoma.

Really cheap gas, as well as incentives, helped goose the numbers to their record-breaking pace, but it’s not like automakers went crazy with the latter. Some of the hottest deals included Kia offering no payments for five months, and 0 percent financing on 2015 GMC Sierra 1500s and Volkswagen Tiguans

Photo: Lincoln Continental concept

Lincoln Continental concept Photo by Lincoln

Automotive News says that overall, 2015’s final sales numbers mark the longest streak of annual gains since the 1920s and caps a spectacular comeback for the industry considering the U.S. industry teetered on disaster just six years ago.

On to 2016. How long can the great ride continue? Well, there sure is plenty to look forward to: We can’t wait to see the new Lincoln Continental, BMW M2, a gaggle of Infinitis and Mercedes-Benz’s new E-Class. Oh, and don’t forget, Hyundai goes after the Germans with Genesis, its own luxury arm.

Should be fun to watch.

Wes Raynal

Wes Raynal

– Wes Raynal joined Crain Communications’ circulation department while still in college. When he graduated in 1986, he became a reporter for Autoweek sister publication Automotive News. He has worked as Autoweek’s associate editor, news editor, motorsports editor and executive editor before being named editor in 2009.

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