With the turning of our calendars, 2015 is now officially in the history books. It was a year of triumph and tragedy, but fortunately for the auto industry there’s plenty to celebrate … except for Volkswagen, of course.
Thanks to an unexpectedly robust December and strong sales throughout the remaining 11 months, just shy of 17.5 million cars and trucks were sold last year, a performance that eclipsed the previous record that was set back in the year 2000. This is huge news and something to cheer about.
Overall deliveries were up 5.7 percent compared to 2014, which itself was a strong year. At long last the devastation wrought by “The Great Recession” is behind us, just in time for another economic downturn …
Several brands posted blockbuster gains last month. For instance, Volvo’s year-over-year sales were up just shy of 90 percent with more than 9,300 deliveries. Bentley increased by 41 percent in December, Scion grew in excess of 44 percent while Nissan was up almost 19 percent. The final month of 2015 was damn impressive with more than 1.6 million units sold, which represents an 8.9 percent increase compared to the same period in the preceding year.
But how did individual brands do for all of 2015? Well, here’s a list of the sales winners and losers.
Winner: Volvo +24.3
Volvo had an epic December, but its performance for all of 2015 wasn’t too shabby, either. The Swedish-Chinese automaker’s sales for the year increased by 24.3 percent compared to all of 2014. A hair more than 70,000 units were delivered last year.
Winner: Jeep +24.9
Jeep is on FIRE, as it has been for what seems like years now. If there’s one brand that’s really keeping the FCA empire financially stable this off-road focused division is it. Sales in 2015 were up nearly 25 percent with more than 865,000 units sold, which is close to twice as many vehicles as Ram sold last year.
Winner: Tesla +26.7
Some pundits think Tesla is the greatest thing since the birth of Christ, others are shocked it’s still in business. Like most things, the truth is probably somewhere in between. Whatever the case may be, this all-electric brand’s sales were up almost 27 percent in 2015. Overall deliveries totaled nearly 23,000 for the year. For a little perspective, that’s more than Jaguar and smart COMBINED.
Winner: Land Rover +37.1 Percent
Now, Jaguar may have had a poor sales showing last year but its sister division, Land Rover, was kicking a**. This mud-slinging British brand’s deliveries increased by 37.1 percent for all of 2015 with total sales eclipsing 70,500. Its year-over-year performance in the month of December was even stronger, growing by nearly 47 percent.
Winner: Alfa Romeo +629 Percent
Land Rover may have had a dynamite 2015, but it’s nothing in comparison to how well Alfa Romeo did. This purveyor of exotic Italian cars saw its sale increase by an unfathomable 629 percent! Of course the brand’s overall volume is minuscule, with just 663 cars sold throughout all of 2015. In comparison they delivered just 91 in 2014. Curiously, Alfa’s December sales were DOWN nearly 15 percent, with just 57 units sold.
Loser: Fiat -8.0 Percent
But not all of FCA’s divisions were so lucky. Fiat didn’t fare nearly as well as Alfa Romeo did. For 2015 the funky Italian brand’s sales declined 8 percent. Total deliveries for the year were just shy of 42,500. Curiously, Fiat’s sales increased 0.6 percent in the month December with 3,805 cars and crossovers delivered.
Loser: Jaguar -8.3 Percent
Land Rover continues to be a smashing showroom success but Jaguar, its stablemate brand, has been in a painful decline for months. Comparing last year’s performance to 2014’s, the big-cat brand’s sales dropped by 8.3 percent to just 14,466 units. But perhaps more troubling than this, its December deliveries collapsed like a burning building, falling by nearly 29 percent!
Loser: Maserati -9.6 Percent
On a percentage basis Maserati’s year-over-year sales fell just shy of 10 percent in 2015. Total deliveries were nearly 12,000. However, like Jaguar, this brand’s December sales were much worse, declining by 24 percent last month with scarcely more than 1,000 cars delivered.
Loser: Dodge -9.9 Percent
Dodge’s sales in 2015 declined by 9.9 percent compared to the previous year. Things are moving in the wrong direction, but if nothing else the brand sold more than 517,000 cars and trucks. If there’s a little bit of good news to share, Dodge’s year-over-year December deliveries increased by close to 6 percent, hitting nearly 50,000 units.
Loser: smart -28.4 Percent
And finally we come to smart, a brand that just can’t catch a break. In 2015 its sales fell by nearly 29 percent compared to the year before, with fewer than 7,500 vehicles delivered. That’s a heaping helping of not good, but it gets even worse. For the month of December, smart’s sales fell by more than 31 percent with just 669 cars delivered. Hopefully their redesigned fortwo can help turn things around, but with gasoline prices where they are today there probably isn’t much demand for fuel-sipping city cars.
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