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GM December 2014 Sales Rise 19 Percent

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/5/2015 Joseph Capparella

General Motors finished out the year strong, with December sales going up 19 percent to a total of 274,483 units for the month. The company said its retail sales were the highest in over six years, and fleet sales (making up 18.6 percent of that total) were also up 6 percent for the month. Cadillac was the only brand to decline in December, with an 11 percent loss, and Buick gained the most with a 32.4 percent increase over December of last year.

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Full-year sales finished with an increase as well, with GM’s 2014 total of 2,935,008 units beating out 2013 by 5.3 percent. This is despite the company’s numerous safety defects which resulted in millions of vehicles being recalled throughout the year -- that bad news didn't appear to harm new-car sales.

Winner: Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, 81,274 December/741,588 2014 (combined)

Both of GM’s big-selling pickups posted significant increases in the last month of 2014, with the Silverado going up 35.8 percent and the Sierra increasing 31.3 percent. Adding the two trucks together makes for an impressive 81,274 total pickups sold in December, beating out the Ford F-Series which moved 74,355 units this month, even though early demand was high for the completely redesigned 2015 aluminum-bodied F-150. The GM trucks still fall slightly behind the Ford in full-year numbers, though the Silverado was up by 10.3 percent overall and the Sierra increased 14.9 percent compared with 2013.

Winner: Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, 32,330 December/347,258 Full-Year (combined)

Even though these two aging compact crossovers are losing their competitive edge against newer rivals, the Equinox and Terrain’s increases in December goes to show how strong the crossover segment is right now. The Equinox outsold all vehicles in the Chevrolet lineup this month save for the Silverado pickup, and the Terrain was similarly the second-best-selling GMC after the Sierra.

Winner: Buick LaCrosse, 5,034 December/51,468 Full-Year

Buick’s full-size sedan, the LaCrosse, made a big jump in December, moving 5,034 units for a 61.2 percent increase. This helped the LaCrosse move past its full-year 2013 numbers for a 5.5 percent increase at the end of 2014. The LaCrosse was also the second best-selling Buick model in 2014, just beating out the popular Encore crossover but falling short of the Enclave. Interestingly, the Buick LaCrosse is also out-selling its Cadillac XTS platform-mate by a factor of two-to-one.

Wait and See: Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, 5,570 December/11,073 Full-Year (combined)

Volumes for GM’s new midsize pickups are continuing to ramp up as more inventory reaches dealers, but it’s still too early to tell whether they will be significant sales contributors to the Chevrolet and GMC lineups. The Colorado sold 4,037 units this month, and the Canyon moved 1,533 units, both relatively low when compared to other midsize pickups like the Nissan Frontier’s 6,060 sales in December.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Chevrolet Silverado High Country

Loser: Chevrolet Volt, 1,490 December/18,805 Full-Year

As we prepare for the debut of the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt, the outgoing current generation of the plug-in hybrid is not getting much love from buyers. Sales were down 37.7 percent in December, and full-year sales fell behind last year’s total by 18.6 percent. In the meantime, the Nissan Leaf electric car had a record year, with just over 30,000 for 2014 overall, a 33.6 percent uptick over last year.

Loser: Cadillac ATS, 2,465 December/29,890 Full-Year

The ATS was the low point in an already struggling Cadillac lineup, with a 36.6 percent decline in December to a paltry 2,465 units. After finishing out 2013 as the second-best-selling Cadillac model behind the SRX crossover, the ATS has now fallen behind the larger CTS sedan in 2014 full-year sales with its total of 29,890 units moved overall, a 22 percent decrease from 2013.

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