Rising incentives, continuing demand for light trucks and December gains at General Motors, Honda and Nissan rounded out U.S. auto sales for 2016, with the industry setting a record high for the seventh consecutive year.
For the month of December, deliveries were up 3 percent, pushing annual sales to 17,539,052 vehicles, besting the 2015 tally by 56,000 units. The year ended with the seasonally adjusted, annualized sales rate hitting 18.38 million, outpacing forecasts that predicted the SAAR would come in at 17.6 million.
Among individual automakers, highlights for the month of December included:
- General Motors reported overall volumes up 10 percent, with Chevrolet up 13 percent, GMC increasing 5.8 percent, Cadillac up 3.2 percent and Buick rising 2.8 percent.
- Nissan Motor Co. posted a gain of 9.7 percent, with its namesake marque up 8.3 percent on strong sales of the Rogue crossover and deliveries at its Infiniti division jumping 21 percent.
- American Honda registered record annual sales of 1,476,582 units, with December volumes rising 6.9 percent for its Honda brand and 1.9 percent for Acura.
- Ford Motor Company sales edged up slightly by 0.1 percent, with the Ford brand slipping 0.8 percent and Lincoln jumping 18 percent.
- Fiat Chrysler reported a double-digit decline for the third consecutive month, with the company down 10 percent overall, Jeep declining 6 percent and Ram posting a 10 percent increase.
- Volkswagen posted a volume increase of 16 percent overall for December, with annual deliveries dropping 7.6 percent.
- Audi, Hyundai, Infiniti, Kia, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Subaru all set annual sales records for 2016.
Despite the succession of annual gains, industry forecasters are warning that increasing incentives, rising interest rates and a slowdown in the retail market will lead to increased inventories and force automakers to make production cuts in 2017.
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