Low gas prices, interest rates push auto sales to 2014 records

Nissan and Honda reported auto sales gains last month, pushing both Japanese automakers to record numbers for 2014. Nissan's auto sales grew 11 percent for the year to 1.39 million to set an annual record for the company. Honda says its sales rose 1 percent for the year to 1.54 million cars and trucks.

AP/File
A woman checks out a new Honda City at a Honda showroom in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia., a woman checks out a new Honda City at a Honda showroom in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Japanese automakers Honda and Nissan saw their sales rise in December, pushing them to record numbers in 2014. Auto sales for other companies are also reported Monday, Jan. 5, 2014.

Fiat Chrysler, Nissan and Honda reported U.S. sales gains in December, helping to push both Japanese automakers to record numbers for 2014.

The figures are signs that car and truck sales finished the year strongly. For all of 2014, analysts are predicting sales of 16.5 million vehicles, up 6 percent from last year and a return to pre-recession levels.

Fiat Chrysler was led by the Ram pickup truck, with sales up 24 percent for the year. Pickup truck sales rebounded for nearly all automakers through 2014 as small businesses regained confidence in the economy and gas prices fell, making the trucks more attractive. Sales of the Jeep Cherokee small SUV were seven times larger than last year, reaching nearly 179,000. Jeep brand sales rose 41 percent for the year to more than 692,000 vehicles, an annual record.

SUVs of all sizes also were hot sellers last year as buyers went for higher seating positions and better cargo-hauling space.

Nissan said its sales grew 11 percent for the year to 1.39 million to set an annual record for the company. Nissan brand sales were up 12 percent for the year, while the Infiniti luxury brand gained just under 1 percent. Nissan was led by the redesigned Rogue small SUV with sales up 22 percent.

Honda says its sales last year rose 1 percent to 1.54 million cars and trucks. That was enough to post the second-best results in company history and a record for the Honda brand. Acura luxury brand sales rose 1.5 percent for the year. Honda was led by the CR-V small SUV with a 10 percent sales gain to 335,000. That broke the SUV's annual sales record.

Nissan's sales grew 11 percent for the year to 1.39 million to set an annual record for the company. Nissan brand sales were up 12 percent for the year. The full Nissan press release on December sales is below: 

Nissan today announced total U.S. sales for December 2014 of 117,318 units, an increase of 6.9 percent compared to last year and a December record. For calendar year 2014, Nissan set an all-time record with 1,386,895 total U.S. sales, an increase of 11.1 percent over 2013.

Nissan Division 2014 calendar year highlights:

  • In 2014, Nissan Division set an all-time record with 1,269,565 total sales.
  • Nissan also set annual sales records for Altima, Rogue, Versa, Juke, LEAF, NV and NV200.
  • In 2014, Nissan sold more than 30,000 LEAF vehicles in the U.S., the first time any plug-in vehicle has reached that milestone in a single year.

December highlights

  • Nissan Division set a December record with 105,311 sales, up 9.1 percent.
  • Sales of the Altima midsize sedan were up 30.3 percent to 32,331, a December record.
  • Rogue crossover sales also set a December record at 14,879, up 1.4 percent.
  • Sales of the all-electric Nissan LEAF totaled 3,102, up 22.7 percent and a December record.
  • Sentra sales were up 42.5 percent to 15,393.
  • Versa sales grew 3 percent to 9,129.
  • Nissan will unveil the all-new Titan full-size pickup truck on Jan. 12, 2015, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. More information on the development of the new Titan is available at: http://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/channels/us-united-states-nissan-titan-truckumentary

Honda says its sales rose 1 percent for the year to 1.54 million cars and trucks. That was enough to post the second-best results in company history and a record for the Honda brand.

All major automakers report US sales on Monday.

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