US: automakers finish 2014 with strong December sales image

Carmakers have a great start into 2015 after closing the books on 2014 with surging December new car sales, mainly buoyed by the continued low gasoline prices.

While 2014 has represented a strong bonanza year for the overall US auto industry, industry executives and analysts are now cautioning the rapid growth pace might slow down into 2015, as the market settles following five years of rapid recovery from the economic recession. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a research note that most likely US auto deliveries outgrew the overall economic pace thanks to easy consumer credit access – finishing the year above the wage and housing climb rates.

According to researcher Autodata Corp., the annualized selling rate, adjusted for seasonal trends, was last month 16.9 million, with dealers selling in December 1.51 million cars and light trucks, according to the Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based researcher. The full-year total came out at 16.5 million, 58 % above the level registered in 2009, when GM and Chrysler were restructuring in bankruptcy. “It’s a very good sales month,” said Maryann Keller, an independent automotive consultant in Stamford, Connecticut. “The biggest challenge for this year will be sustaining the sales pace.” According to analysts and company executives, the auto sales in 2015 are forecasted to rise between 16.7 million and 17 million vehicles. December, a winter month that also encourages customers to make purchases of all-wheel drive vehicles, saw the uninterrupted rapid rise of sales of pickup trucks and large SUVs – also supported by the falling gasoline prices, which in some states across the US already average below $2.

Via Reuters, Bloomberg