Carmakers finish strong in 2014
DETROIT - Americans have been heading to car dealers in droves in recent weeks -- encouraged by a resurgent economy, holiday sales and cheap gasoline.
Among the automakers reporting strong U.S. sales for December -- and for all of 2014 -- today are Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Honda and GM. Nissan and Honda hit record numbers for the year.
Ford faltered, but remained the top-selling brand in the U.S. last year.
Sales are expected to keep growing this year, but at a slower pace than the double-digit increases the country saw in 2011 and 2012. It's good news for buyers, who can expect to see bigger discounts in competitive segments like mid-size cars.
Leading the way in year-to-year sales numbers is Fiat Chrysler, with a 16 percent increase from 2013 to 2014. Sales of the Ram pickup were up 24 percent for the year.
In fact, pickup truck sales rebounded for nearly all automakers through 2014 as small businesses regained confidence and gas prices fell.
At GM, a 19 percent sales gain in December helped drive annual sales up by 5 percent.
Toyota's sales also rose 5 percent for the year. The company's December sales were up 12 percent.