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December sales: Chrysler, GM, Nissan, Subaru finish up; VW, Volvo down

Ford, Hyundai and Honda flat.

The U.S. car market maintained its strong momentum in December, closing out 2014 with yet another annual increase.

Big winners for December include FCA (formerly Chrysler Group), whose Jeep and Ram brands thundered to record double-digit year-end gains (41% and 28%, respectively); GM, which posted big increases everywhere but Cadillac; Nissan, where strong volume from its mainstream brand overshadowed a completely flat Infiniti; and Subaru, who rocketed to a nearly 25% bump in December and almost 21% for the year.

In the luxury segment, BMW finished strong with just shy of 340,000 sales. Mercedes-Benz slotted in second with just over 330,000 sold (not including Sprinter vans). Lexus had a strong December, but finished with just over 311,000 sales for 2014--excellent, but not enough to bust the segment. Audi continued to roll, posting a 15.2% increase for 2014, finishing at 182,011 units.

Mazda broke the 300,000 barrier for the first time in decades, improving 7.7% vs. an already-healthy 2013. Volkswagen managed to match December 2013, putting itself back on a monthly pace to match its 2013 sales if it can maintain this pace in the coming year.

December year-over-year:

- Acura up 13.1%, 17,809- Alfa (new), 67- Audi up 13.1%, 19,238- Bentley down 6.8%, 412- BMW up 11.1%, 41,526- Buick up 32.4%, 20,357- Cadillac down 11.1%, 16,150- Chevrolet up 20.5%, 184,938- Chrysler up 53%, 30,930- Dodge down 2%, 46,578- Fiat up 1%, 3,784- Ford up 0.4%, 210,981- GMC up 23.0%, 53,038- Honda flat, 119,472- Hyundai up 2.4%, 64,507- Infiniti down 9.3%, 12,007- Jaguar up 9%, 1,683- Jeep up 19%, 63,274- Kia up 35.6%, 45,587- *Lamborghini up 2%, 59- Land Rover flat, 5,754- Lexus up 14.7%, 39,879- Lincoln up 21.4%, 9,690- Maserati up 34.1%, 1,412- Mazda up 8%, 24,808- **Mercedes-Benz up 3%, 34,009- MINI flat, 6,615- Mitsubishi up 1.9%, 6,545- Nissan up 9.1%, 105,311- Porsche up 1%, 3,275- Ram up 35%, 48,628- Scion down 11.7%, 3,817- smart up 13.8%, 973- Subaru up 24.7%, 49,923- *Tesla up 190%, 2,200- Toyota up 12.2%, 175,178- Volkswagen flat, 34,058- Volvo up 0.7%, 4,920

2014 year-end

- Acura up 1.5%, 167,843- Alfa (new), 91- Audi up 15.2%, 182,011- Bentley up 1.3%, 3003- BMW up 9.8%, 339,738- Buick up 11.4%, 228.963- Cadillac down 6.5%, 170,750- Chevrolet up 4.4%, 2,033,442- Chrysler up 2%, 308,785- Dodge down 4%, 574,155- Fiat up 7%, 46,121- Ford down 1.1%, 2,386,468- GMC up 11.3%, 501,853- Honda up 1%, 1,373,029- Hyundai up 0.7%, 725,718- Infiniti up 0.8%, 117,330- Jaguar down 7%, 15,773- Jeep up 41%, 692,348- Kia up 8.4%, 580,234- *Lamborghini up 3%, 708- Land Rover up 2.9%, 51,465- Lexus up 13.7%, 311,389- Lincoln up 15.6%, 94.474- Maserati up 171%, 12,943- Mazda up 7,7%, 305,801- **Mercedes-Benz up 5.7%, 330,391- MINI down 15.6%, 56,112- Mitsubishi up 24.7%, 77,643- Nissan up 12.2%, 1,269,565- Porsche up 11.1%, 47,007- Ram up 28%, 469,139- Subaru up 21%, 513,693- Scion down 15.1%, 58,009- smart up 12.8%, 10,453- *Tesla up 25%, 26,400- Toyota up 5.1%, 2,062,382- Volkswagen down 10%, 366,970- Volvo down 7.9%, 56,366

*Based on estimates from Automotive News.** NOT including Sprinter

Note that last month's highlights and lowlights listed below are merely a selection of some of the month's bigger movers.

Highlights (sales up > 40%)Chrysler 200, up 187% to 16,229VW Golf family, up 137.9% to 4,405Lincoln Navigator, up 90.2% to 1,792Infiniti Q70, up 78.7% to 656Chevy Spark, up 75.6% to 3,007Cadillac Escalade family, up 66.6% to 3,740Ford Mustang, up 66.1% to 9,511Dodge Viper, up 62% to 89Buick LaCrosse, up 61.2% to 5,034Jeep Patriot, up 53% to 9,434Nissan Sentra, up 42.5% to 15,393

Lowlights (sales down > 30%)Nissan Maxima, down 51.1% to 3,180Audi A7, down 44.5% to 524VW Jetta SportWagen, down 39.9% to 1,006Cadillac ATS, down 36.6% to 2,465Mazda5, down 35% to 759Ford Taurus, down 34.8% to 3,061

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