Looking back at the year that just was but is now no longer, it's not hard to spot a number of interesting trends. First and foremost, sales were up just about every month, overall, for much of the industry. Maserati had led for the entire year, up until December, that is, when it was overtaken by its much larger brother, Chrysler. We're sure FCA is happy to see the no-longer-Pentastar brand leading the way, followed closely by Ram and Jeep, which have been up in sales all year.

After all the tallies were in, the best-performing brands of 2014 were Audi, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche and Subaru. All 13 of these automakers set sales records in 2014. Impressive performances, to be sure.

Industry analysts point to steeply declining fuel prices as part of the drive behind increased sales, but that's only part of the story. Auto sales have steadily improved since 2009's dismal 10.4-million-unit performance, rising in 2014 to just about 17 million.

Take a look at the full chart below for all the sales data, and be sure to check out past installments of our monthly By The Numbers category here.



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