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Another bumper year for US sales

Big entrance: North American shoppers have welcomed back the Jeep Cherokee nameplate after a 13-year break, helping to secure a 16 per cent increase of sales for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2014.

Ford's truck reigns supreme in the US despite slight F-Series sales downturn

26 Jan 2015

SALES of new cars in the United States have almost rebounded from the start of the global financial crisis nearly a decade ago, with 16.5 million vehicles finding new homes in 2014 – just 450,000 shy of the 2006 record.

A increase of one million cars over 2013 sales continued a five-year period of rapid growth and has restored sales to within reach of the highest figure recorded to date in North America, setting up 2015 to potentially put in a new top score.

Falling fuel costs and a relaxation of vehicle finance restrictions are being sited amongst the reasons for the accelerating sales, with gas-guzzling options such as Ford's F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram trucks taking gold silver and bronze medals.

With nearly 754,000 sales, Fords F-Series truck has remained the nation's favourite private car for an unprecedented 32 years and the best-selling truck for an astonishing 43 years despite a slight slip of 1.3 per cent last year.

While the Ford has taken a small hit to sales, its closest competitor and second place overall Chevrolet Silverado is closing in with a 10.3 per cent increase over the previous year and a total of 529,755.

The Dodge Ram is the one to watch in the top three however, with the GM tough-truck blossoming by 23.6 per cent increase compared with 2013. Dodge sold 439,789 units.

Healthy sales of the big-boned models secured the top segment honours for the light-duty truck category with 8.6 million registered – an increase of 10 per cent.

Americans may be flocking back to the big truck market with renewed confidence but the mid-sized passenger segment was the category sales second place of 2014 – albeit at a slight slowing of half a per cent.

Nearly eight million vehicles in the mid-sized segment were sold with Toyota's Camry sitting at the top of the pile on 428,606 sales, putting it in fifth place overall. The Honda Accord ranked a close second in the mid-sizers (sixth overall) with 388,374 rolling out of dealerships just ahead of the Toyota Corolla and its 339,498 sales.

About 195,000 luxury SUVs were sold in 2014 which might not compare to the top two categories but vehicles such as the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 helped increase growth of the segment to a greater degree than any other with sales up 14.2 per cent to the end of December 2014.

One of the big success stories of the year was Jeep's Cherokee which recorded 178,508 sales, ranking the mid-sized SUV in 20th place – commendable for its first year following a more than 10-year hiatus of the nameplate in which time it was named Liberty.

The seven-slot grilled vehicles set a new annual sales record for Jeep in 2014, while its parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles increased sales by 16.1 per cent in 2014 – the greatest rise of any brand.

Other competitors fought it out for top brand recognition with General Motors retaining its crown as Americas favourite car-maker on 2,935,088 sales (up 5.3 per cent), while fellow North American Ford came in at second place with a slight slip of 0.6 per cent and a score of 2,471,315.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or Chrysler LLC as it was known until late last year, rounded out the top three brands with 2.09 million sales and a healthy increase of 16.1 per cent over 2013.

While current trends forecast US sales to break records this year, some sources predict a slowing of the American auto market as readily available credit and hastily arranged loans catch up with consumers in 2015.

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