US auto sales set record in 2015 – Los Angeles Times

Posted: Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Americans have driven auto sales to their highest total in years, and analysts predicted more of the same for 2016.

Sales of new cars and trucks in 2015 hit 17.47 million, toppling the previous record of 17.35 million set in 2000. Analysts attributed the gains to a strong economy, interest rates that were at historic lows and higher consumer confidence.

“They feel a bit wealthier and more comfortable making a long-term commitment to a vehicle purchase,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Autotrader. “This is the sixth year of year-over-year increases in sales, and that’s unprecedented.”

Auto manufacturers rolled up big sales numbers despite a brisk year for recalls. Problems included Volkswagen’s surprisingly polluting diesel models, exploding Takata air bags in a variety of major U.S. and Japanese brands, and failing GM ignition switches.

For the full year, Fiat-Chrysler reported 2.2 million vehicles sold, up 7% from 2014. Nissan, with 1.5 million, was also up 7%.

General Motors sold 3.1 million vehicles, up 5%. Ford, with 2.6 million, was also up 5%. Toyota, with 2.5 million vehicles sold, was up 5% as well. And Honda posted 1.58 million vehicles sold, an increase of 3%.

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