December auto sales up sharply

Despite a rough year of recalls, GM leads the league in December car sales

GM had a brutal year in the headlines, with its deepening ignition switch recall troubles, but the company is enjoying a big December in sales and an increased market share, according to

A tally of car sales stats by the car-buying service shows the Detroit giant with a 12.3% December unit sales bounce over December 2013, and a market-leading market share of 17.3%, up from 16.9% a year ago.

That puts the embattled manufacturer well ahead, in market share, of its U.S. and Asian rivals. Ford trailed with 15%, Toyota with 14.3%, and the newly renamed Chrysler, now FCA, with 13.2%.

Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and Volkswagen Group followed.

TrueCar noted that the December sales numbers were not achieved with incentive offerings alone. Though FCA's incentive expenditures for the month were up 10% over December 2013, GM's and Ford's were down from a year ago.

TrueCar President John Krafcik said the month was the strongest in over 10 years.

"We see a convergence of favorable economic circumstances pushing auto demand up to pre-recession levels," Krafcik said. "This year has been remarkable in terms of growth and revenue."

TrueCar also noted that Subaru appeared poised to sell 500,000 vehicles for the year. That would make 2014 the biggest year for the company, which over the last 12 months has grown in market share from 3.0% to 3.2%, just ahead of Kia, just behind Volkswagen.

TrueCar, which based its projections on numbers supplied by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and its own data research, said this month it expects new car sales for the year to be more than 16.5 million units, and projected that 2015 will see new car sales hit the 17 million mark.

But used car sales are hot too. The company said December showed independent dealer and private party used vehicle transactions up 18.9% over December 2013, at about 4.5 million units moved.

Twitter: @misterfleming

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times