DETROIT — The redesigned 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck, Chrysler 200 sedan and Chevrolet Spark hatchback ranked among the standouts as automakers reported December and 2014 annual sales results on Monday.
Low gas prices, high consumer confidence and successful dealer introductions were credited with what was largely a blockbuster December for many companies. Several automakers reported record-breaking and "historic" results.
"Everything you need to have a great month was in place," said Kurt McNeil, GM's U.S. vice president of sales operations, in a statement. "Consumers felt good about the direction of the economy, interest rates and fuel prices were low, and our dealers did a great job introducing customers to our incredible range of new and redesigned vehicles."
GM and FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), formerly the Chrysler Group, reported double-digit gains in December.
GM dealers in the U.S. delivered 274,483 vehicles in December, the company's best December sales in seven years. Total sales were up 19 percent compared to a year ago.
FCA reported U.S. sales of 193,261 units, a 20 percent increase compared with sales in December 2013 and the group's best December sales since 2004. Annual FCA U.S. sales topped 2 million units.
Mazda crowed about its 2014 results, saying they can only be described as "historical when it comes to Mazda sales."
"Mazda 3, Mazda 6 and CX-5 have out-performed all year and, as a result, we surpassed 300,000 vehicle sales for the first time since 1994," said Ron Stettner, Mazda North American Operations vice president of sales, in a statement. "The support of our dealers, along with the strongest, most competitive showroom we have ever offered is the driving force behind our success."
Ford sales were flat in December, reflecting a yearlong trend at the automaker. Sales totaled 220,671 vehicles in December, up 1 percent from a year ago.
Ford said its overall 2014 sales results reflected the "all-new F-150 change-over and a planned 15 percent reduction in daily rental sales." Ford sold 2,480,942 vehicles in 2014 in the U.S.
However, the Dearborn automaker reported that demand for the 2015 F-150 is "very high." The F-150 is now the fastest-turning vehicle in Ford showrooms, averaging just five days on dealer lots in December.
Nissan reported its "all-time best year on the strength of core vehicles, including the Nissan Altima, Sentra, Versa and Rogue." The electric Nissan Leaf had its "best-ever year for any plug-in vehicle in the industry," Nissan said.
For calendar year 2014, Nissan set an all-time record with 1,386,895 total U.S. sales, an increase of 11.1 percent over 2013. Nissan Group's U.S. sales in December were 117,318 units, an increase of 7 percent versus a year ago and a December record.
"We expect low gas prices and high consumer confidence to be the magic formula that continues to bring more buyers into dealer showrooms," said Fred Diaz, Nissan senior vice president of U.S. sales & marketing and operations, in a statement.
"Despite the price of gasoline dropping well below $3 a gallon in many markets, Honda's strong, balanced lineup of cars and trucks helped us achieve record sales in 2014," said Jeff Conrad, Honda division senior vice president and general manager, in a statement.
Edmunds says: Automakers and car dealers are expected to build on this momentum into 2015, as car shoppers still have plenty of good reasons to visit showrooms.