2014 Was a Very Good Year for Car Sales

2014 was the year that sales of cars and light trucks finally got back to their pre-recession levels, according to year-end figures from the National Automobile Dealers Association.

In fact, last year’s light vehicle sales were the highest they’ve been since 2006. Sales were up in most categories, and for most auto makers. However, U.S. auto makers gained ground toward the end of the year, in part because truck sales were up even more than car sales.

Here are some highlights from the NADA report:

Light-vehicle sales for 2014 totaled 16.4 million units, which was up 5.8% from 2013 — making 2014 the year with the highest sales since 2006 (when there were 16.5 million sold).

May and August were the months in the largest sales volume bracket in 2014, with 1.6 million units each.

Car sales held a market share of 46.8% in 2014, while the light-truck share was 53.2%.

However, the gap between car and truck sales increased from the middle of the year through December, with the car share down and the light-truck share up.

Companies with a base in North America (Detroit’s “Big Three” and Tesla Motors) held the largest share of light-vehicle sales in December 2014 with 45.5 percent of the market.

Overall in 2014, companies with a base in the Asia/Pacific region held the largest annual share of light-vehicle sales in the U.S., at 45.7 percent, while companies based in North America held 45.3% of the market.

It seems like lower gas prices encouraged more people to buy trucks toward the end of 2014. This helped U.S. auto makers to gain ground on their Asian rivals as the year drew to a close. With experts predicting that gas prices should stay low well into 2015 it will be interesting to see how the “Big Three” fare as we move through the year.

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