For December 2016, the US automobile industry notched a new record peak as more generous discounts, strong light-truck demand and solid gains from General Motors, Honda and Nissan led light-vehicle sales to an all-time high.

Overall sales grew over 56,000, or 0.3%, much more than the 2015 record. It was the seventh consecutive year of sales gains, a notable streak and recovery for an industry that was down on its heels during the Great Recession. Volume climbed 3% in December, surpassing forecasts, pushing 2016's final sales tally to a number of 17,539,052 cars and light trucks.

The seasonally adjusted, yearly sales rate also touched 18.38 million, the highest pace of the year and fifth-highest in record. Before the results, analysts had estimated that industry-wide deliveries would come in at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 17.6 million.

US light-vehicle sales totaled 15.85 million through November already, and that was more than 6,418 cars in the same period in 2015— a clear indication the market had hit a plateau. Yet there was apparently more steam left for December than analysts estimated.


Automakers: Company by company

Volume rose 10% at General Motors for the second consecutive month. Nissan Motor Co. moved higher by 9.7% and American Honda had a 6.4% gain in the December results.  Toyota Motor Corp. inched up 2% and Ford Motor Co. edged up 0.1%.

However, Fiat Chrysler posted its third straight double-digit downtick.

General Motors

All four of GM’s US brands posted gains: Chevrolet led with an uptick of 13%, followed by GMC with 5.8%, Cadillac with 3.2% increase, and Buick with 2.8%.

GM claimed its rental sales increased in December but ended the year down roughly 74,000 vehicles, or 18%, compared with 2015. The automobile behemoth said its retail deliveries, which are a key priority in recent years, rose more than 3% in December.

The company projected the December SAAR at 18.2 million, which would deliver a record year for the auto industry.


Elsewhere, volume jumped 6.9% at the Honda division and 1.9% at Acura. For 2016, Honda Division's US sales inched up 4.8% to a record number of 1,476,582.

Nissan Motor

Meanwhile, Nissan Motor's December gains mirrored an 8.3% increase at its namesake division and a hefty 21% rise at Infiniti.

The Nissan division set an all-time record high with 1,426,130 U.S. sales in 2016, higher by 5.5%. And in a sign of how firm light-truck demand has become across the automobile industry, the Rogue crossover surpassed the Altima sedan to rank as Nissan’s top-selling US model for the first time, with 2016 sales of 329,904, or a gain of 15%.

Ford Motor Company

At Ford Motor, sales had dipped 0.8% at the Ford division but up 18% at Lincoln.

Toyota Motor Corp

Toyota stated volume inched up 2.6% at the Toyota division but slid 0.5% at Lexus in the previous month.


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Deliveries had unfortunately slipped 10% at FCA US behind a 6% fall at Jeep and a hefty 34% decline in fleet shipments. Ram was the only FCA US brand to post gains for December 2016 with a 10% increase.

Jeep and Ram ranked in US sales records in 2015.

Hyundai, Kia

Volume lost 1.9% at Hyundai but nonetheless rose 0.2% at Kia.


For the second consecutive month, sales soared for the VW brand, but dipped 7.6% for the year.


At Mazda, volume decreased by 1.8% for December 2016.

Mitsubishi, Mini

December deliveries dipped 6.4% at Mitsubishi and 7% at Mini.

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