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Big December finish for FCA?

by Bill Cawthon on

Early forecasts call for FCA US to end its best sales year since 2005, with a 19% improvement over December 2014 as the auto industry sets a new record.

Edmunds wrote that FCA will sell 229,517 cars and light trucks this month, 36,256 more than last December, the best month of 2015 to this point. That would make FCA’s 2015 total 2,255,897, the highest volume since 2005 (2,304,883), and Chrysler’s fifth-best year ever.


Chrysler’s all-time best year was 1999, with 2,624,076 U.S. sales, built on a corporate transformation begun a decade earlier.

Edmunds’ Jessica Caldwell wrote that FCA would post the largest growth in market share, going up to 13.6%.

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive predicted 1,712,200 total industry sales in December, taking 2015 into the record books with nearly 17,539,000 sales, more than 136,000 sales ahead of the prior all-time record (2000, with 17,402,486 U.S. light vehicle sales). Edmunds’ prediction is also for a record, but it somewhat more modest, at 1,688,167 December sales and 17.5 million 2015 sales.

Credit reporter Experian noted there have already been more than 17 million new vehicle registrations over the traditional model year, which runs from November 1 to October 31. California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois had the highest number of new vehicles registered. [Registration figures include prior-year vehicles, especially during the earlier months of the model year, so the numbers are different from the number of sales reported. During the November 2014-October 2015 period, manufacturers reported 17,318,727 light vehicle sales.]

Since New Year’s Day falls on a Friday, December sales won’t be reported until Tuesday, January 5, 2016.

Manufacturer 12/2015 Forecast 12/2014 Actual Change 11/2015 Actual Change
Fiat Chrysler 229,517 193,261 18.8% 175,974 30.4%
Ford 243,590 219,369 11.0% 186,889 30.3%
General Motors 287,203 274,483 4.6% 229,296 25.3%
Honda 149,296 137,280 8.8% 115,441 29.3%
Hyundai/Kia 127,942 110,094 16.2% 105,560 21.2%
Nissan 135,972 117,318 15.9% 107,083 27.0%
Toyota 243,735 215,057 13.3% 189,517 28.6%
Volkswagen 56,821 53,116 7.0% 40,582 40.0%
Industry 1,688,167 1,503,321 12.3% 1,319,734 27.9%

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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