2015 auto sales trump 2014 by 2.5%

January 8, 2016

WASHINGTON (1/8/16)--While vehicle sales tapered slightly in December, total auto sales rose 2.5% in 2015 compared with 2014’s numbers, according to AutoData Corp. ( Jan. 5).

Vehicle sales dropped to 17.3 million units on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis in December, down from 18.2 million the previous month.

Light truck sales dropped to 9.9 million annualized, down from 10.4 million in November, while they climbed 12.8% year-over-year. Car sales, meanwhile, slipped for the second straight month, dropping to 7.4 million units annualized from 7.8 million the prior month.

Annually, car sales climbed 8.7%.

“Vehicle sales ended the year on a strong note, though sales did not top the November pace,” said Adam Goldin, Moody’s analyst ( “The combination of a strengthening labor market, improving credit quality and access to credit bolstered by low interest rates, ample discounting, the launch of new models, and plummeting gasoline prices contributed to the strong performance at year end and for the year.”

The car share of vehicles sold dropped to 44% in 2015, down from 48% in 2014 and the lowest mark since 2004, while the light truck share rose to 56% from 52%.

“The lower gasoline prices served almost as a tax cut, providing households with more disposable income to spend on any type of vehicle,” Goldin said. “But in 2015, as gasoline prices hit substantial new lows, the move toward light trucks accelerated.”