In the rear view mirror

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FAT PROPHETS: As we do each month, we check in on how our exposures fared in terms of their US sales. It was a mixed bag in December, but with the exception of Volkswagen, sales for the calendar year came in higher.


Toyota (NYSE: TM, initial buy $94.45) reported December 2015 sales of 238,350 units, an increase of 10.8 percent year over year on a volume basis and 2.9 percent when adjusted for the two additional sales days in December 2015. For the full year, Toyota sales approached 2.5 million (2,499,313) units and were up 5.3 percent over 2014. Toyota took the crown for retail sales in the US market.

Lexus sales were strong in December, coming in at 41,380 units, a 3.8 percent year on year increase and a record monthly tally for the marque.  For the year, Lexus sales of 344,601 units were up 10.7 percent, boosted by a 26.5 percent increase in luxury utility vehicle sales.

The BMW Group (BMW & Mini combined) reported December sales of 39,634 vehicles, representing a sharp 17.7 percent fall from the 48,141 vehicles sold in December 2014. Looking under the hood, both MINI and BMW sales disappointed in December, with MINI sales down 24.3 percent and BMW sales down 16.6%.

Despite the soft finish to the year though, BMW Group sales in the US edged up 2.2 percent to 404,537 units. The bulk of these were BMW brand sales, up 1.8 percent to 346,023 units. It was the third record year for the BMW brand and its range of SUV’s are resonating with American consumers. The X5 shifted 54,997 units, up nearly 17% more than in 2014.

Volkswagen (DE: VOW, initial buy at €177.20) sales continue to be adversely impacted by the emissions scandal, with 30,956 units in December 2015 some 9.1% fewer in the year earlier month. For the full year, 349,440 units represented a 4.8 percent decline on 2014.

Audi sales continued to impress though and the badge broke through the 200,000 barrier in the United States for the first time and notched up a sixth straight record year of sales in the market.

December 2015 marked the 60th consecutive month of record sales in the US market, increasing 6.0 percent to 20,399 vehicles, taking the total tally for the year to 202,202 vehicles.

Finally Tata Motors (NYSE: TTM, initial buy $34.56) owned Jaguar Land Rover continued to purr in December, which came on the heels of a strong showing in both October and November in the American market.

Jaguar Land Rover reported sales of 9,638 units, a 30 percent year on year increase. Once again, the Land Rover badge led the way, with sales surging 47 percent to 8,441 vehicles, more than offsetting a 29 percent slump in Jaguar sales in December.

For the full year, Jaguar Land Rover sales in the US were up 26 percent to 85,048 units, propelled by Land Rover US sales hitting an all-time high of 70,582, up 37 over 2014. Jaguar sales in the US dipped 8 percent to 14,466 units as a number of buyers likely delayed purchases due to new model changeover.

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