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Historically low interest rates and cheaper fuel have powered sales in the automobile sector, exceeding the previous sales record 15 years ago.
New car sales in the U.S. have increased for the sixth consecutive year to reach 17.47 million in 2015, toppling the previous record of 17.3 million in 2000, and possibly marking the end of the crisis era back in 2009 when 10.4 million light vehicles were sold. The figures concern cars, including sports cars, utility vehicles and pick-up trucks.
GM, Ford and Toyota all announced around a 5% rise in sales for 2015, while both Nissan and FiatChrysler reported an increase of 7%, mainly thanks to the Jeep SUV brand for the latter. Volvo’s revival in the U.S
gained momentum, with sales up 24.3% in 2015. Read more on Volvo's historical sales performance here.
Hurt by the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, Volkswagen’s sales fell 4.8% to less than 350,000 vehicles, while Audi reported 11.1% gain in 2015. Porsche is yet to confirm its results.
According to the AAA Motor Club, petrol prices were down nearly 10% at the pump in December compared to the same time in 2014.
“The single most important pieces are the ongoing gains in employment and the growth in personal income. When you add in lower energy prices, it’s easy to see why consumer spending is strong”, said Mustafa Mohatarem, Chief Economist at GM, who expects another record year in 2016.
However, industry analysts remain cautious with the future trend and point out that much of the incentives and discounts offered by dealers are starting to climb; an indication that car manufacturers have given priority to market shares over profitability. Sales in 2016 are expected to be a few thousand units higher but the boom is expected to soon be over.
Sources: Financial Times/Alliance News