If kids spent December piling into the loot from Santa, parents spent it piling into the trucks at their local dealership. Detroit's full-size pickups led the month's top sellers, followed in fourth place by Honda's popular SUV, the CR-V. It received a substantial update for 2015, and three months after it hit dealerships, demand is still strong. Despite no big incentives and comparatively little inventory — 34 days' supply in December versus 67 days a year ago, per Automotive News — shoppers lifted the CR-V past perennial midsize sedan favorites.
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It was a trend writ large among all SUVs. Excluding luxury models, small crossovers gained about 12 percent in December. Big three-row crossovers and full-size, truck-based SUVs piled on about 15 percent apiece. Falling fuel prices all month long helped: Between the final helping of Thanksgiving leftovers and the final chorus of "Auld Lang Syne," a gallon of regular gas dropped some 50 cents nationwide, according to AAA. As of Jan. 2, it averaged just $2.23 per gallon across the country — $1.09 cheaper than it was a year ago.
That bolstered pickup sales, but not for the truck you'd think. Ford's redesigned 2015 F-150 trickled into dealerships in December, but it's still in short supply, accounting for less than 10 percent of new F-150 inventory on Cars.com. F-Series sales ebbed (the F-150 accounts for about two-thirds of that), but pickup shoppers snapped up Ram and Chevrolet Silverado trucks. Both had sales gains of more than 30 percent, and neither one did that with big year-over-year incentives.